With age comes power and with power comes privilege. Some college students have found ways to fast-forward their way into this power with fake ID’s. “False or fake id is any form of identification that is forged or altered or otherwise purports to establish the false identity of a person. ” For example, a person can purchase an ID but because it is not issued by the government, it is not a legal ID. One can also get a fake ID by taking another person’s real license and to use it as their own (Theoharis, 2015).
Different types of people use fake ID’s for multiple reasons. In some cases, the reasons may seem harmless but in other cases, they can be a part of very serious events. Young adults could be trying to buy alcohol or get into bars, criminals trying to disguise their identity, or in extreme cases, commit an act of terrorism. In any case, there are four potential legal consequences for using fake identification, including being convicted of a felony, facing charges of fraud or other crimes, getting your legal license revoked, or starting criminal record.
Having a fake ID may seem harmless and easy as technology continues to advance; the legal consequences for having a fake ID are also becoming more extreme. Every year, technology becomes advanced, making life easier for people. But for those who choose to, the use of technology can make life easier in wrong and illegal ways. Possessing a fake ID is against the law. Computers have made it much easier to create false documentation, from birth certificates to driver’s licenses; therefore, precautions have increased as well. The severity of the consequences depends on the situation and can vary from state to state.
The laws cover a wide range of faults. These laws prohibit anyone from making or selling false documents, altering legitimate documents, as well as purchasing, using, or possessing them. Depending on the state in which someone commits the crime, possessing a fake ID or acts related to the usage of a fake ID can amount to a serious felony charge. Possession crimes are the most common and people can be charged with having a fake ID even if they never used it. In Ohio, the charges of possession, manufacture, the alteration of an ID, or the use of someone else’s identification is a first degree misdemeanor.
First degree misdemeanors consist of a fine of $1000 or 12 months in jail. In West Virginia, like statutes in many other states, there is an exception in situations where someone uses another person’s identification to misrepresent his or her age. Essentially, if a person uses a fake ID or uses someone else’s ID to get into a bar in West Virginia, it is not considered identity theft. However, using or possessing a fake ID is still illegal, and the person can still face a fine, license suspension, and other penalties.
In addition, a license suspension of up to one year can be imposed by the Ohio bureau of motor vehicles on a violator or by the owner of the driver’s license provided by the underage student. (source) The main users of fake ID’s are teenagers who want to buy alcohol or young adults just under 21 who generally use fake ID’s to drink in bars or buy alcohol. There are different consequences of owning or selling fake ID’s. Under-aged drinkers who go to bars and get caught with fake ID’s are usually ticketed for minor consumption and for carrying false or altered identification.
They are usually fined 300 dollars or face imprisonment for no more than 60 days (source). The bars that sell alcohol can face the biggest risk from fake ID’s. The state can take away their right to sell alcohol. This is referred to as retailor liability. State laws also require some establishments such as those that sell alcohol, tobacco, or fire arms, to verify the age of the person by verifying the person’s identification. It is the job of the establishment to make sure that the ID is valid and ensure that it actually belongs to the person who is using it.
If a retailer fails to properly inspect or verify an ID, the person can face penalties from the state. These can include a fine, license suspension, or can even cause a business to permanently lose its license. Not only does having a fake ID affect the person who possesses it, but it can also affect the establishment that was an innocent by stander. (Legal consequences of Fake ID, 2011) A legal consequence that people can suffer for having a fake ID without their name on it can be identity theft. For example, if a younger sibling uses their older sibling’s ID and passes it off as their own, this can be considered identity theft.
But even in a state where they can charge people with identity theft for fake ID’s, they might not. Prosecutors are allowed to choose when to charge a person with a crime or not. This is very risky and can simply be avoided by not possessing a false ID. Another legal consequence is being processed as a criminal and having a record. Possessing or using a fake ID is a crime and can even be considered a federal crime in some cases. As a minor, criminal convictions go on one’s juvenile record which will be expunged after turning 18.
However, after a person turns 18, if they are convicted of possessing a fake ID, the record becomes public and will follow them to school and job applications for the rest of their life. Since this is a fraudulent crime, in the eyes of employers, those convicted of using false ID can be seen as worse than other criminals because they might be seen as untrustworthy or dishonest. This can be a problem in acquiring and retaining employment for many years to come (source). As a young adult in college, I can say that it is very tempting and easy to get a fake ID but the slim benefits do not outweigh the harsh consequences.
From my research, I have learned that purchasing or owning a fake ID is a crime will be processed. Also, that it is not a crime to be taken lightly. If all the young adults knew and outweighed the good and bad of purchasing and having a fake id I believe that young adults would have a different outcome. From my experience, I can say that I will never be purchasing or possessing a fake ID again and try to express to others about the risk and consequences of a false identification. The legal and immeasurable consequences of possessing a fake ID are not worth the risk.
As technology continues to improve, the number of fake ID’s being produced and used is increasing. For this reason, the consequences of using and selling fake ID’s are also becoming sterner. The issue is not whether a person will get caught, it is when willing gets caught, and it is only a matter of time before this happens. After further research, I have now come to the conclusion that after turning twenty-one, a person has their your whole life to drink, and go to bars, so starting early is just setting teenagers up for failing with the risk of severe and long-lasting legal consequences.