Pennsylvania Fake ID laws are serious. If you're charged with violating a fake or false ID law in Lancaster County, you may find yourself in more legal trouble than you could have imagined. Most make the mistake of assuming they can get away with using a fake ID without getting into much legal trouble. After all, when young adults use a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, we frequently chalk their actions up to “kids being kids.” The truth is: Anyone who uses a fake ID for any reason can face severe and life-altering consequences. Additionally, it isn't only the use of a fake ID that can land you in hot water with Lancaster County prosecutors. It's also against the law to sell and make fake IDs.
If you or someone you love has been charged with breaking fake ID laws in Lancaster County, you need to contact an experienced and skilled attorney who can help you defend the fake ID allegations. In addition to fines and penalties, those who aren't able to mount an adequate defense could end up with a criminal record that impacts their ability to secure jobs, housing, and other important opportunities in life.
What Is Considered a Fake ID Violation?
Fake IDs come in many forms. You may be surprised to learn that a fake ID isn't just the product you get if you pay a friend of a friend to fabricate an ID for you. You could also be convicted of breaking Pennsylvania fake ID laws if you use someone else's valid ID.
Some examples of situations that could get you into legal trouble include:
- Using someone else's ID as your own
- Presenting a fake ID to a law enforcement authority
- Using a forged ID
- Using a fabricated ID
- Using an altered ID
- Falsifying information to obtain a government-issued ID
- Fabricating a fake ID
- Selling a fake ID
- Possessing a fake ID
In the eyes of the law, the only valid ID is an ID issued to a specific person by the state or federal government on the basis of truthful information presented by that person. Any other use of an ID could result in severe consequences that are likely to cause you long-lasting legal troubles.
Getting in Trouble for Using Fake IDs
Just as there are several forms of fake IDs, there are multiple ways an individual can violate Pennsylvania fake ID laws. An underage person could be accused of using a fake ID to buy alcohol, cigarettes, or vape products. Others could be charged with using a fake ID to misrepresent their identity to an officer of the law. In addition to the laws pertaining to misrepresenting your age or identity with a fake ID, there are also laws that criminalize the possession, fabrication, and selling of fake IDs in Lancaster County and in the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania fake ID laws include, but are not limited to:
- 18 Pa. C.S. § 4914, False Identification to Law Enforcement Authorities. Under Section 4914, a person commits a third-degree misdemeanor offense if they furnish “law enforcement authorities with false information about [their] identity after being informed by a law enforcement officer who is in uniform or who has identified himself as a law enforcement officer that the person is the subject of an official investigation of a violation of law.”
- 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.2, Manufacture or Sale of False Identification Card. Under Section 6310.2, a person commits a second-degree summary offense if they “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly manufactures, makes, alters, sells or attempts to sell an identification card falsely representing the identity, birth date or age of another.”
- 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.3, Carrying a False Identification Card. Under Section 6310.3, a person commits a summary offense if they are under 21 and use someone else's ID or a fabricated ID to buy alcohol.
Pennsylvania Fake ID Law Penalties
The penalties associated with fake ID laws include fines of no less than $1,000 for the first violation of Section 6310.2 and up to $500 for violations of Section 6310.3. Subsequent violations of Section 6310.2 will result in fines of no less than $2,500.
Violations of Lancaster County fake ID laws are considered summary offenses under Sections 6310.2 and 6310.3. It's a mistake to think that summary offenses are no big deal, as they can still result in 90 days of jail time, and they will also go on your criminal record. Section 4914 carries stiffer penalties and is considered a third-degree misdemeanor offense. This means those who are accused could face up to a year in jail in addition to expensive fines.
Defending Against Fake ID Charges in Lancaster County
Even though the laws pertaining to fake IDs may appear black and white, an experienced attorney understands where certain defenses can be leveraged to help the accused maintain their innocence. For example, under Section 6310.2, the law requires an element of intent or recklessness. If you're accused of breaking this law, your attorney may be able to assert that you acted neither intentionally, knowingly, nor recklessly.
Additionally, under Section 4914, you can assert that you didn't know the person asking you for information was an officer of the law. Perhaps they didn't correctly identify themselves, and you were suspicious of their intrusion into your privacy. Reasonable people can get caught up in a legal headache under this particular provision, and if this sounds like a situation familiar to yours, you need to speak with a defense attorney right away.
How Can a Fake ID Charge Affect My Future?
Any criminal charge, arrest, or conviction will lead to a criminal record. Even though you might think getting in trouble for using, possessing, or fabricating a fake ID is no big deal, the consequences can hang over you for years to come. Fundamentally, a fake ID charge is considered a crime of dishonesty under Pennsylvania law. That concern does not stop there, however. Employers, schools, the military, and most any other organization where opportunities may be sought by a young person will also regard a fake ID charge not only as a reflection of poor judgment, but also impropriety defined by dishonesty.
Separate from the unique dishonesty concerns associated with a fake ID charge, a criminal record in and of itself includes any negative record of your interaction with the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. Even if you get in trouble and the criminal charges are later dropped, information pertaining to the charges will still go on your criminal record.
Most don't realize that a mistake they made years ago when they were much younger can still appear on background checks for employment, housing, and other opportunities. To get back on track, those with charges or convictions on their criminal record may need to explore expungement options with a PA attorney.
Even though expungement may be helpful later on down the road, the best approach is to defend yourself with the help of an attorney from the start.
What Happens When Students Get Caught Using Fake IDs?
Students often get in trouble for using fake IDs. Those students who use fake IDs to get into bars or clubs at off-campus establishments can still be acting in violation of their school's student conduct codes. Many codes of conduct prohibit students from misbehaving in the community at large, and this includes breaking the law of campus. Students accused of violating their school's conduct code may be investigated and subject to suspension or even expulsion.
Additionally, students are sometimes charged with using fake IDs to help another student cheat on exams or classwork. This type of misconduct would be considered a violation of your school's academic honesty policy, and the penalties are severe. Students placed on probation for violating academic misconduct codes are likely to lose their scholarships and may have to forego internship opportunities. These students may also face suspension or expulsion.
Will Fake ID Convictions Affect My Future Education?
Fake ID convictions could negatively impact your future admission and housing opportunities at higher education institutions. For example, Millersville University policies provide:
Students who have previously been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions.
Students with prior Fake ID misdemeanor convictions could be barred from on-campus housing and certain externship or internship opportunitie s. Additionally, those students seeking state licensure after graduation may face significant hurdles overcoming the application process if they have a criminal record.
Talk to a Lancaster County Fake ID Defense Attorney
If you or someone you love has been accused of using, selling, making, or possessing fake IDs in Lancaster County, you need to act fast. If you contact a fake ID defense attorney as soon as you're able, you'll stand a better chance of mounting a successful defense. Developing an early defense strategy is key in overcoming the harmful consequences these convictions can have on your life.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands that multiple factors go into presenting a skilled defense of fake ID accusations. Attorney Lento isn't only skilled in defending the accused before the state authorities, but he is also an experienced student discipline defense attorney who knows how to communicate with your school's disciplinary board to help mitigate the impacts of the false ID accusations against you or someone you love.
To learn how Attorney Lento and his experienced team will fight for your rights after a false or fake ID charge, call 888-535-3686 right away.