NJ 2C:21-2.1. Fake ID.

Defending NJ 2C:21-2.1.  Fake ID.

After you read the following NJ Criminal Statute (Fake ID) you may decide that you need the help of a lawyer, or need a legal interpretation of how this statute applies to your case.  The firm of Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor.  Call the number above for a free 24×7 phone consultation or read more about the fake id charge.

Summary of a Fake ID Charge in NJ

The fake ID statute in New Jersey is generally charged as a fourth or third degree criminal offense. If you are caught using a fake form of identification, such as a fake driver’s license, state ID or birth certificate, to purchase alcohol or tobacco or to gain admittance to a bar, you may receive fourth degree criminal charges. N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1 should not be confused with N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7 (Tampering with Public Records). The main difference is that the fake ID statute only deals with ID’s that were entirely fake, while the tampering statute deals with modifying an already existing government document. Many underage drinkers obtain fake ID’s from the internet or other places with the sole intention of getting access to alcohol. This will inevitably lead to criminal charges.

What Must the Prosecutor Prove?

Fake ID charges require very little proof by the prosecutor. Generally, the actual fake ID and testimony that tends to show that the defendant attempted to use or used the fake ID will be sufficient to support a guilty verdict. Of course, all elements of the offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Many municipalities have recently cracked down on the use of fake ID’s and have instituted programs that place undercover police officers in liquor stores to abate such behavior. Programs of this type have been called “Cops in Shops”. These programs make it even easier for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction.

Defending Against Fake ID Charges

Even though the burden of evidence to obtain a fake ID conviction is low, there still may be some defenses available to you. An experienced criminal defense attorney will look at all aspects of the case to determine if police procedure was properly followed and you were afforded all due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the New Jersey Constitution. Do not attempt to just plead guilty to a fake ID charge in New Jersey, as it will have additional consequences beyond the typical criminal penalties.

Penalties for a Fake ID Conviction in NJ

If you are convicted under the fake ID statute, you will face fourth degree criminal penalties that will include: up to a $1,000 fine, possible jail time and/or probation, community service and other fines and penalties. In addition to these penalties, the statute authorizes a license suspension for a minimum of six months or as much as two years. If you have not yet received your license, you could see a postponement of the receipt of your license. Do not plead guilty to fake ID charges in New Jersey. Instead, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Call Villani & DeLuca for a free initial consultation.

NJ Statute: 2C:21-2.1.  Offenses involving false government documents, degree of crime.

a. A person who knowingly sells, offers or exposes for sale, or otherwise transfers, or possesses with the intent to sell, offer or expose for sale, or otherwise transfer, a document, printed form or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver’s license, birth certificate or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

b.A person who knowingly makes, or possesses devices or materials to make, a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver’s license, birth certificate or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

c.A person who knowingly exhibits, displays or utters a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver’s license, birth certificate or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the third degree.  A violation of N.J.S.2C:28-7, constituting a disorderly persons offense, section 1 of P.L.1979, c.264 (C.2C:33-15), R.S.33:1-81 or section 6 of P.L.1968, c.313 (C.33:1-81.7) in a case where the person uses the personal identifying information of another to illegally purchase an alcoholic beverage or for using the personal identifying information of another to misrepresent his age for the purpose of obtaining tobacco or other consumer product denied to persons under 18 years of age shall not constitute an offense under this subsection if the actor received only that benefit or service and did not perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate any additional injury or fraud on another.

d.A person who knowingly possesses a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver’s license, birth certificate or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  A violation of N.J.S.2C:28-7, constituting a disorderly persons offense, section 1 of P.L.1979, c.264 (C.2C:33-15), R.S.33:1-81 or section 6 of P.L.1968, c.313 (C.33:1-81.7) in a case where the person uses the personal identifying information of another to illegally purchase an alcoholic beverage or for using the personal identifying information of another to misrepresent his age for the purpose of obtaining tobacco or other consumer product denied to persons under 18 years of age shall not constitute an offense under this subsection if the actor received only that benefit or service and did not perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate any additional injury or fraud on another.

e.In addition to any other disposition authorized by this Title, the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43), or any other statute indicating the dispositions that may be ordered for an adjudication of delinquency, and, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:43-2, every person convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of any offense defined in this section shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period to be fixed by the court at not less than six months or more than two years which shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed.  In the case of any person who at the time of the imposition of the sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of the suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period as fixed by the court of not less than six months or more than two years after the day the person reaches the age of 17 years.  If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this Title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this Title, the revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension or postponement.

The court before whom any person is convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of any offense defined in this section shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver’s license or licenses of that person and forward the license or licenses to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission along with a report indicating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section.  If the court is for any reason unable to collect the license or licenses of the person, the court shall cause a report of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency to be filed with the director.  The report shall include the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color and sex of the person and shall indicate the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section.  The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement imposed pursuant to this section, the person shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S.39:3-40.  A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing.  Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S.39:3-40.  If the person is the holder of a driver’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not collect the license, but shall notify forthwith the director who shall notify the appropriate officials in that licensing jurisdiction.  The court shall, however, in accordance with the provisions of this section, revoke the person’s non-resident driving privileges in this State.

In addition to any other condition imposed, a court, in its discretion, may suspend, revoke or postpone the driving privileges of a person admitted to supervisory treatment under N.J.S.2C:36A-1 or N.J.S.2C:43-12 without a plea of guilty or finding of guilt.

L.1983,c.565,s.1;  amended 1999, c.28, s.14; 2002, c.85, s.3; 2003, c.184, s.2; 2005, c.224, s.1.

AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 2C:21-2.1, Violation 2C:21-2.1, Offense 2C:21-2.1

Disclaimer: A copy of this statute has been provided for your information. This wording was current from the NJ website lis.njleg.state.nj.us as of August 2012.

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