In NJ, Use or Possession of a Fake ID Can Result in Severe Penalties
Now that summer is in full swing, most people like to take advantage of the great weather during the day and the local bar scene at night. Unfortunately, many of those people are not of legal age to drink alcohol and frequent the bars. For years, underage individuals have been trying to get their hands on “good fakes” in order to purchase alcohol, tobacco, and to gain entrance into the popular bars. It seems as if underage individuals on Long Beach Island (LBI) got their wish and then suffered the consequences of their quest to find a “good fake”. Recently, three underage individuals were caught trying to gain entrance to the Sea Shell Hotel and Bar using a fake ID. Owner, John Hughes thought the ID’s were suspicious and called police. Police described the fake ID’s as something new.
New Type of Fake ID from China Being Used in NJ
Although police have not commented further, there seems to be a trend of new fake ID’s. A website based in China claims to sell fake ID’s that will scan, pass a UV test, and have all the necessary holograms to pass muster. Recent alcoholic beverage industry articles have made individual bar owners, operators, and police officers aware of this trend and are urging that they take further precautions encouraging more rigorous inspection. The recent articles also encourage bar owners to purchase a relatively inexpensive book titled The Drivers License Guide, which has pictures of each states’ true drivers’ licenses and what to look for to spot a fake. This heightened awareness will most likely lead to more fake ID charges written by police officers.
Using a Fake ID is NOT a Harmless Act in NJ
Although most underage individuals view having and using a fake ID as harmless, a conviction for such can be extremely damaging and can result in severe penalties. If you are caught in possession of or in the process of using a fake ID, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense (N.J.S. 2C: 21-2.1). A “fake ID” can be a falsified drivers license, birth certificate, or any other falsified government document. Usually, fake ID’s are used to verify age or identity for the purposes of obtaining controlled substances such as alcohol and tobacco products. If the person using the fake ID is the only person deriving the benefit of it, then more often than not it will be charged as a disorderly persons offense. However, if you tamper with any public record, the penalties can follow those of indictable offenses of the 3rd and 4th degree. If the underage person is charged with a disorderly persons offense, they could face: jail time, a $1,000.00 fine, a permanent record, and community service. However, if they are charged with a more serious 3rd or 4th degree offense, they face a possible prison sentence, higher fines, probation, and other severe penalties.
Using a Fake ID to Buy Restricted Products
If the underage individual did use a “good fake” to obtain entry to a bar or to purchase liquor products and is caught in possession of the ID and alcohol (such as drinking in a bar), you can be charged with both a fake ID violation and an underage drinking violation. Any person, who is under the legal drinking age of 21, can be charged with the disorderly persons offense of underage drinking (N.J.S. 2C: 33-15) if caught consuming alcohol. These offenses are usually written at loud house parties, street festivals, bars, or any place of public assembly. Conviction of the underage drinking offense will result in a fine of no less than $500.00. If the underage person is found with alcohol in a motor vehicle, he or she could have their license either suspended or postponed for up to 6 months.
If Caught Using a Fake ID, Call Villani & DeLuca
If you have been charged with possessing or using a fake ID, underage drinking, or any other disorderly persons offense, call the experienced LBI criminal defense attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Located in Point Pleasant Beach, the lawyers of Villani & DeLuca often appear in municipal courts of Long Beach Island and can help defend against your charges. Call 732-965-3350 today for a free initial consultation.
Asbury Park Press, “Arrest on LBI in new type of fake ID”, June 25, 2011.