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Possession of a Fake ID

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Age is not just a number, and in a lot of instances, age plays a very important factor. When it comes to buying alcohol and cigarettes or trying to get into a bar or club, age plays a pivotal role. As teens get closer and closer to the legal age that feels like freedom, it seems the more they want to push the limits. It is not uncommon for underage young adults to try to find other means of getting these age-restricted items. One of the most used tools is the infamous fake ID. It may not be as outlandish as the McLovin fake ID scene from SuperBad, but the use of fake IDs is still extremely common among the youth.

Fake IDs especially run rampant across colleges and universities. In the Tampa Bay area, there are three main campuses: Hillsborough Community College, the University of South Florida, and the University of Tampa. On any given weekend, college students can be found going out to local bars and clubs. Even though there are security guards at the door, it’s not uncommon for underage students to try to sneak in with the use of a fake ID.

Let’s say you’re a freshman college student about to go out with your dorm mates on a Friday night. There’s a big party and it’s BYOB—bring your own beer. You’re a freshman in college, so you don’t have any beer of your own. Your friends convince you to ask an older student to borrow their driver’s license to go to the nearby liquor store. At the register you try to be confident—you’ve even memorized the address, height, and weight of the person in the driver’s license. Unfortunately for you, the store clerk doesn’t buy it for a second. Next thing you know the beers and ID have been confiscated, and you’re now calling your parents to explain how you just got charged with a potential felony. Not the ideal Friday night, is it?

Considering fake IDs are extremely common amongst college students, they assume that there is no real consequence for using another person’s identification card. On one hand, most of the time the security guard will just confiscate the fake ID and refuse entry into the bar. In more extreme cases the police will be called, which will lead you down a rabbit hole of problems. As students—or anyone under the legal drinking age limit, it’s important to know exactly what happens when you’re caught in possession of a fake ID, as well as how to defend a charge. If you or a loved one is arrested for possession of a Fake ID, contact an experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re a college student, the parent of a college student, or just someone underage who has been accused of possession of a fake ID, it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney. Getting advice and information on your rights can help immensely in your case. Joel Elsea and his team have the skills and time put in to provide you with the proper help. As a Stetson Law graduate, Joel Elsea is ready to assist Florida college students who are in need. Don’t let one mistake affect your future.

For more information on how to defend charges for a college student, take a look at our page Criminal Defense for College Students.

What is Possession of a Fake ID?

Section 322.212 of the Florida Statute explains that it is prohibited to possess, make, or sell a false identification card—often referred to as a “fake ID”. Within the statute, it states: “It is unlawful for any person to knowingly have in his or her possession or to display any blank, forged, stolen, fictitious, counterfeit, or unlawfully issued driver’s license or identification card or any instrument in the similitude of a driver license or identification card.”

Possession of a fake ID used to only be considered a misdemeanor charge in Florida. However, new laws were implemented as of October 1, 1997, that changed it to a felony charge. Now under Fla. Statute 322.212, holding another person’s driver’s license or state identification not produced by the appropriate government agency can result in serious felony penalties.

There can be several offenses related to the statute’s criminalization. The following list includes additional unlawful acts regarding identification:

  • If a person sells, manufactures, or delivers a fraudulent ID
  • If a person barters, trades, sells, or gives away their own ID
  • If a person agrees to supply or aid in supplying another person with an ID card by any means whatsoever
  • If a person uses a false or fictitious name or knowingly makes a false statement when applying for a driver’s license or ID card
  • If a person uses a suspended, revoked, or canceled ID
  • If a person possesses an ID that has an altered date of birth

How does Florida Law Define the Term “Driver’s License”?

What constitutes a driver’s license? Under section 322.01 of the Florida Statute, a valid driver’s license is considered a certificate that authorizes a person to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator’s license.

Under Fla. Statute 322.212(1), “[t]he term ‘driver’s license’ includes a driver’s license issues by the department or its agents or a driver’s license issued by any state jurisdiction that issues licenses recognized in the state for the operation of a motor vehicle.” A person can also get busted for the possession of a driver’s permit, or another form of identification. An important factor is whether a person is trying to use someone else’s identity in any way, shape, or form.

Penalties for a Fake ID Charge in Florida

For certain instances a fake ID charge can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge. It is important to know the differences to understand the severity of the penalties in fake ID cases.

Misdemeanor Penalty for a Fake ID Charge in Florida

Under Section 322.212 of the Florida Statutes, it is prohibited to use another person’s driver’s license or identification card with an altered or changed date of birth. Most offenses under this statute equal a felony charge; however, if it is just the date of birth that has been changed, then the crime is only charged as a second-degree misdemeanor. The consequences of violating the law by possessing someone else’s driver’s license or any other identification card with an altered birth date is punishable by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail, or 6 months’ probation.

If you give a police officer a false name or use a fake ID upon being arrested by the police, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in prison under section.

Felony Penalty for Fake ID Charge in Florida

The possession of a driver’s license or ID card with a false name is classified as a third-degree felony.. Under Section 322.212(5)(a) of the Florida Statutes, there is required proof that the defendant knowingly made a false statement, concealed a material fact, or otherwise committed fraud in the Florida identification card application. Violating this law by possessing a driver’s license, or any other identification card is punishable by 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

A related offense can include possessing the equipment to create fake driver’s licenses or government-issued identification cards. This would result in a second-degree felony charge. Even further, a separate charge can be filed against you for each time a fake ID is made.

The Real ID Act of Florida

A new law was passed by the United States Congress in 2005 called the “Real ID Act.” The idea behind the law was to create a more reliable system for obtaining a United States driver’s license or government-issued identification card. The law required more detailed documentation for applying for a driver’s license, including a birth certificate or a valid passport.

The law is also an attempt to control the validity of personal identification across the nation, and the prevention of fake IDs. After it was implemented in Florida in 2010, the law now requires either a birth certificate or passport to receive a valid state driver’s license. If a person has changed their name from their original birth certificate, then they are required to provide copies of either a court judgment, marriage certificate, or divorce decree indicating the name change.

Additional Resources

The goal of the FLHSMV is to protect the integrity of identifying documents issued by the agency. Requirements have been put into place to ensure what documents must be presented in order for customers to prove his or her identity, residency, and citizenship for lawful presence in the United States. Visit the FLHSMV website for more information on driver’s license fraud, identity theft, and helpful contacts.

  • MTV – What Really Happens When You Are Busted for a Fake ID?

In 2015 MTV did an interview with real police officers, bouncers, and liquor store attendants to see what actually happens when someone tries to use a fake ID. On the website you can find out more information about real scenarios that happen with fake IDs, and the consequences of a possession of a fake ID charge across the nation. The article notes the severity of Florida’s laws on the matter, namely the felony distinction that some of the criminal acts carry.

Finding a Defense Attorney in the Tampa Bay Area

If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of a fake ID crime, it is important to reach out to find the right defense attorney in Tampa for your case. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is of the utmost importance to know your rights and how to defend your case. Joel Elsea and the team at Elsea Law Firm, P.A.  have the skill and experience required to fight in your corner and defend your case. Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life. If you need assistance with a fake ID case, call (813) 451-8583 today for a free consultation.

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