Numerous colleges and universities have made Philadelphia their home. Engrained in college culture is party life. With many local bars and clubs located just walking distance from campus, it comes as no surprise that underage students may feel compelled to partake in the city's thriving nightlife. One of the most age-old, accessible ways to get around the drinking age limit and enter clubs is to obtain a fake ID. They've become so popular that if underage students or individuals don't have one themselves, they know someone who has one. And with the evolution of technology, they're beginning to look strikingly similar to authorized identification - making the jobs of bartenders, servers, and bouncers even more difficult.
If an underage person is caught with a fake ID for purposes of obtaining alcohol, the consequences will be harsh. Alcohol-related crimes for underage individuals are taken very seriously by local law enforcement. And although crimes involving youth are usually handled with more leniency than adults, fake ID charges and related offenses are an exception. A fake ID charge can result in costly fines, the loss of driving privileges, and most importantly, the creation of a criminal record. If convicted, this charge also has a tendency to haunt individuals far down the road, showing up on background checks for colleges and employers to see.
To completely understand what's at stake and why this matter is important enough to get an attorney involved, here are some important facts and figures concerning fake ID charges in Philadelphia.
Fake ID Laws in Philadelphia
According to statutory law, it is illegal for an underage person to do the following:
- Possess a fake ID
- To use a fake ID to (attempt to) purchase alcohol
- To get assistance in purchasing alcohol by lying about your age
False identification is an ID that has incorrect information about a person's name, birth date, age, or any other personal identifying information. It can also be another person's ID that you attempt to misrepresent as your identity.
Why You Need An Attorney
If you or your child has been charged with an offense involving a fake ID, the first and immediate step you should take is to hire an attorney. A skilled and experienced legal professional will be able to get your sentence significantly reduced, or get your charges dismissed altogether. It's important to remember that the mere possession of a fake ID is enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. So this means, that you don't even have to be caught in the act of using it to be charged and convicted of a summary offense, merely being caught with one will suffice.
Convicted persons of this crime face a fine of up to $500 and a mandatory 90-day license suspension for a first offense. Any subsequent violation elevates this charge to a third-degree misdemeanor - a crime with serious implications and much harsher consequences than a summary offense. If it is also discovered that an underage person purchased, or attempted to purchase, an alcoholic beverage with this fake ID, additional legal penalties will be imposed.
Joseph D. Lento has over 15 years of experience representing juvenile clients who have acquired charges for fake IDs and alcohol-related offenses, and he's helped avoid the creation of a criminal record. Contact him today to learn about how he can help you.