Possessing fake identification has become increasingly popular among kids who feel like they are committing a harmless act. Whether it is in an effort to obtain alcohol, rebel against their parents, or simply fit in with a crowd, many minors are convincing themselves that it is all in the name of having a good time.
The truth is, even the act of possessing a fake ID is a serious offense in the state of New Jersey. One way NJ law enforcement detects underage purchasers of alcohol is through the Cops in Shops program, in which police officers are placed undercover as “employees” of local liquor stores. Juveniles can be charged with possessing, displaying, and manufacturing or distributing fake ID's. Each of these violations can be punishable by varying degrees of fines, suspension of license and even jail time.
Sometimes even good young students find themselves in a bad situation and are not sure where to turn. That's when the professionals at the law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey are ready to step in. Serving minors in Ocean County and Monmouth County, these professionals will make juveniles aware of their defense options in an effort to make sure their record goes unblemished.
New Jersey Laws on Fake ID's
The law is very clear about fake identification. It is illegal for anyone to make, exhibit or sell a document with false identifying information. This is a clear form of identification fraud which can result in a charge of a disorderly persons offense, or even a second, third or fourth degree crime, depending on which statute one is charged under. N.J.S.A 2C:21-2.1 (false government documents), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7 (tampering with public records) and N.J.S.A. 33:1-81 (misrepresenting age to induce sale or delivery of alcohol) all govern varied false identification offenses in New Jersey.
When a minor shows fake identification in an attempt to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, he or she can be charged with a disorderly persons offense. If that person is then convicted of the offense he or she will be subject to a fine of $500 or more, a mandatory suspension of the person's driver's license for six months and even participation in an alcohol education or treatment program at the court's discretion. If a person who is too young to drive is caught with a fake ID, the suspension of a driver's license will begin the day the individual obtains a license. Additionally, nonresidents of New Jersey convicted of a fake ID charge are not exempt from driver's license suspension. An out-of-state individual caught with false identification in New Jersey will have his or her driving privileges in NJ suspended or postponed, depending on the offender's age.
Fake ID Defense Options
The lawyers at the law firm of Villani & DeLuca are always staying on top of the legal options for their clients. One method of helping a juvenile keep a clean record is to file for an expungement of this criminal charge five years from the date of the conviction. A granted expungement would result in all records of the violation being put aside in an isolated file unavailable to the public. This protects the charged party from having the incident seen by current or future employers.
In the event an arrest does not result in a conviction and charges are dismissed completely, the accused can file for an expungement to have the arrest removed from his or her record immediately following the disposition of the proceedings. An expungement is requested by filing a petition for expungement with the appropriate New Jersey Superior Court.
Other Issues Concerning Fake Identification
Minors who use fake identification to purchase alcohol can also find themselves dealing with the bigger issue of receiving a DUI while underage. Just like with fake IDs, New Jersey state law is harsh on offenders who drive under the influence of alcohol. If a person not of legal drinking age is cited for drinking and driving, he or she faces a fine of $500, loss of license for a minimum of 30 days and community service for a period of 15 to 30 days. These penalties are in addition to those imposed under the New Jersey statutes for underage possession (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15), inducing sale to a minor (N.J.S.A. 33:1-81) or DWI (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50).
Where to Turn when Charged with Fake ID in NJ?
While a juvenile is always best served following the law, sometimes mistakes occur. Being charged with a crime can be a scary time for a minor, with fears about how the offense may alter their future. It is times like this that the professionals at Villani & DeLuca are available for assistance. Their knowledge and experience in the industry can help ease anxieties throughout the legal process.
If you or anyone you know is in need of legal guidance, or is simply looking for more information regarding the serious nature of juvenile offenses such as fake id, underage alcohol possession, underage DWI or underage drinking in New Jersey, the professionals at Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach are ready to serve you.