Many people seem to think that having a fake ID is harmless, something often done to enter a club or a bar by underage teens. But, rest assured, in Florida having and using a fake ID is a serious crime for which you can be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
When you use a fake ID such as a driver’s license, social security card or passport that does not belong to you, it is considered to be a major crime in Florida. So, if you have been charged with possession of a fake ID, you need to see an attorney as soon as possible.
What Are Fake IDs Commonly Used For?
– Buy alcohol
– Enter an adult club
– Buy cigarettes
– Buy lotto tickets
– Have a tattoo done
– Travel alone
– Book a hotel room
– Go to a concert alone
– Book a cruise or a plane trip
– Visit a strip club
– Buy pornography
– Pawn items
– Go gambling
Who Uses A Fake ID?
Fake ID use is most common among younger people, such as high school and college students, who are under the age of 21. In many cases, these young people think nothing of using a fake ID to enter a bar, club or an adult entertainment center – after all, they believe they are not harming anyone. Then there are others who use fake IDs for personal gain like opening an account and buying items. Most law enforcement officers will give a warning to first time offenders who just used the fake ID to enter a club. However, if you possess a fake ID and used it for financial gain or to rip off a business, then you will most likely be arrested. It is illegal to possess someone’s passport, driver’s license or any other photo ID, even if you have not made any alterations to it.
How Can Fake IDs Be Spotted?
Because of fake IDs, today most businesses have become alert to their existence and know how to spot them. The majority of IDs have tiny text on them called microprint. This microprint is not easy to fake and bouncers and business people often look for this tiny text in the ID, to determine if it is fake. If the microprint is present, then the ID is real. Some states have very distinct microprint that may be located in the corner or at the back of the card. In other states, the microprint may be elevated or be written in a specific shape. In Florida ‘the Sunshine State’ is printed in the shape of a box in the bottom right corner at the back of the card. Because the microprint is small, some people use a magnifying glass to check for the tiny text. In other states the IDs have holograms; when the ID is held up against a light source, an image will appear. Other ways to tell if the ID is fake is by feeling the texture of the card, checking for shadows in the images and by just looking at the person- who may be apprehensive or nervous.
What Can Happen If You’re Charged With Using A Fake ID?
The repercussions of using or possessing a fake ID go beyond the legal system and include the following:
- Job termination can occur if you used an ID that belonged to someone at work
- Loss of tenure or academic probation: for professionals who are associated with universities and colleges, use or possession of a fake ID can lead to loss of tenure, academic probation and even loss of research grants
- Be excluded from social events being held on colleges
- Lose privileges to participate in sports or be part of any team event
- Expulsions from high school, college or university
Can Use Of A Fake ID Affect My College Or University Status?
Yes, colleges and universities take the issue of fake ID use or possession very seriously. All academic institutions in the country have codes of conduct that students and staff have to abide by. Besides a criminal prosecution, the colleges also have their own disciplinary hearings, even if the incident occurred off campus. Besides academic probation, one can even be expelled from the college. In some cases, the colleges may refer the matter to the prosecutor, who may charge you with a third-degree felony.
What Happens If I Have A Fake ID And Get Caught?
In many cases, if you are caught with fake ID at a club or a bar, the ID will be confiscated and you will be told to leave. When bouncers at clubs notice that you have a fake ID, they will most likely confiscate or tear it up and kick you out. Most bars and clubs just don’t have the time to deal with the courts, but they will never ever let you in again. There are times when a club will refer the case to the district attorney and it is up to this office to determine if charges are warranted. However, you shouldn’t push your luck as some cases are prosecuted.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
The majority of individuals who have been caught with a fake ID have very little clue as to the seriousness of the event, what can happen or how to proceed. If you have been caught with a fake ID, you should always get in touch with an attorney. These professionals can not only help the case be dismissed, but can even help you get into a pretrial diversion program. Your lawyer can help negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to reach the best possible solution for you.
What If The Prosecution Refuses To Drop The Charges?
There are times when the prosecution will refuse to drop the charges. But in many cases, if you have a lawyer acting on your behalf, the prosecutor may offer a pretrial diversion program where you’ll have to undergo a rehabilitation program, but your charges are dropped upon completion of the program. It is best to have an attorney vouch for your character with the prosecution, as they’re more likely to listen to an attorney rather than you trying to defend yourself. Since most people charged with possessing a fake ID are young, they have a lot to lose by having a third-degree felony on their record so early in life. Frost Law represents clients in all types of felony and misdemeanor charges, including possession of a fake ID as well as juvenile crimes and student conduct hearings. Call Frost Law for a free consultation at (407) 670-5569.