Teenagers and students under the age of 21 sometimes think fake IDs are common, and – due to its presence – aren't a big deal. But they are. Getting caught with a fake ID can turn into a serious matter both at your school and within the criminal justice system.
Here, trusted and experienced college student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento explains how serious fake ID use in Bucks County, Pennsylvania can be if caught with one. You don't even have to use the fake ID, it's enough to get you into legal trouble if caught with it. Learn more below and then contact Lento Law Firm to get answers to your specific questions and circumstances.
What are Fake IDs?
Fake identification (Fake ID) materialize in different ways. They are forms of documentation created through forgery, alterations, or theft. For students, fake IDs are usually driver's licenses created with their own image and information with the one exception: a fake birthdate.
Where are Fake IDs Used in Bucks County?
Fake IDs are used by students at stores selling alcohol or at bars and nightclubs or other entertainment establishments that sell alcoholic beverages or require customers to be 21 years old or older. Students will use fake IDs at these types of establishments located closest to their respective college or university. In Bucks County, the can include any of the following:
- Bristol College
- Bucks County Community College
- Cairn University
- Delaware Valley University
- Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Doylestown Campus
- Gwynedd Mercy University
- La Salle University Bucks County
- Pennco Tech
What Happens If Caught with a Fake ID in Bucks County?
If caught with a fake ID in Bucks County, you can face student disciplinary action at your school and criminal charges via the criminal justice system.
Disciplinary action can result in suspension or expulsion from school. There can be other sanctions imposed, too, depending on the school's policies, where you were arrested, and the nature of the criminal activity.
The criminal process can result in a fake ID criminal charge filed as either a summary offense or a first-degree misdemeanor.
Penalties following a conviction of a summary offense can include:
- jail of up to 90 days; and/or
- a fine of up to $300.
Penalties following a conviction of a first-degree misdemeanor can include:
- 2.5 to 5 years in prison; and/or
- a fine of up to $10,000.
Despite the difference in punishment for both classifications of the charge, the one thing they have in common is this: a conviction leads to a criminal record, and a criminal record can lead to serious collateral consequences.
What are the Future Risks to a Fake ID Conviction in Bucks County?
The future risks of students facing criminal charges in Bucks County are many. The three fundamental risks are those related to college
- applications and funding;
- employment; and
- housing during and after your higher educational experience.
First, with regard to funding and higher education applications, you may have to report your conviction to any provider of loans, scholarships, or other financial assistance. You may also have to disclose the conviction if you are transferring from one school to another school or in an application for graduate or military school.
Second, with regard to employment, you may have to advise your current employer, and if you work at-will, your employer can terminate your employment without cause. But the real impact comes after you graduate. You may have to disclose the conviction in applications, and as a crime of dishonesty, this could impact any job in the financial sector specifically as well as any other job generally. You may also meet challenges when applying for a professional license or security clearance.
Third, a conviction could mean denial of on-campus housing. After school, too, you may have to disclose to any mortgage lender or landlord that you have a criminal record. A landlord is under no obligation to accept your application if you have a criminal record, even when everything else in your life is akin to perfection.
Contact a Bucks County Fake ID Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for a fake ID charge in Bucks County, contact Joseph D. Lento immediately at 888-535-3686. The State and your university may have already begun their cases against you, so it is important to have an experienced student defense attorney start on your case as soon as possible.