Fake I.D./Drivers License Charges
Many teens who are under the age of 21 choose to get fake identification in order to drink, buy cigarettes or do other age-restricted activities. Unfortunately, this type of youthful indiscretion can have serious consequences as a teen who is caught with a fake I.D. can face serious criminal charges.
If you or your child was charged with having a fake identification card, it is important that you understand your legal rights and that you work to avoid conviction or to avoid a permanent criminal record. Michael B. Goldstein, a Professional Law Corporation, represents clients accused of having a fake driver’s license and has over 40 years of experience with this and other criminal cases involving minors. Contact us today to see how a Palm Desert defense attorney can help.
When Can You Be Charged for Having a Fake Driver’s License?
In California, there are several different laws that can result in criminal charges if you have a fake identification card. For example:
- Business and Professions Code section 25661 addresses the use of fake I.D. for procuring alcohol as well as the possession of a fake I.D. by someone under age 21.
- Penal Code section 470(b) addresses the possession of a forged driver’s license or identification card for purposes of committing a forgery.
Possession of a fake identification is not limited to teens who wish to use the false I.D. to buy alcohol or cigarettes. A person could also have a fake I.D. in order to commit workers’ compensation or insurance fraud or identity theft. A person could also have a fake I.D. used to get work if he or she is in the United State’s illegally.
In most cases, teens who have fake I.D. in order to do age-restricted activities will be charged under the law found in the Business and Professional Code while those with a fake I.D. for some other purpose will be charged under the Penal Code. However, there is no guarantee that a young adult with false identification will not be charged with the more serious of the offenses found in section 470(b).
Penalties for a Fake Driver’s License
The potential penalties that you face for having a false identification in your possession vary depending upon how you are charged. For a violation of the Business and Professional Code section 25661, you face misdemeanor charges and can be fined $250 and/or forced to perform between 24-32 hours of community service. Repeat offenses can result in fines of $500 and/or 36 hours or more of community service.
Teens can also face additional charges, including minor in possession of alcohol charges, if they use the fake I.D. to obtain alcohol. A one –year license suspension can accompany conviction as well, and the teen may be left with a criminal record for life.
For a violation of Penal Code section 470(b), on the other hand, the potential penalty includes imprisonment of up to one year in the county jail.
Palm Desert Defense for Fake I.D. Charges
There are a number of possible defenses that you can raise if you are accused of having a fake I.D.. For example, you could argue that you didn’t know the I.D. was a fake or that you had no intention of committing fraud. You can also argue that you were not actually in possession of the identification, especially if it was found in your car or home instead of on your person.
You may also be able to avoid conviction simply by demonstrating that the police haven’t proven you broke the law. Remember, in the U.S. justice system, you are always innocent until proven guilty so you do not have to conclusively prove your innocence. Conviction can be avoided simply if the prosecutor doesn’t prove your guilt.
The truth of the matter is law enforcement frequently files such charges, assuming the defendant will simply plead guilty in order to put the matter behind him. However, that is often not in your best interest. Even when no defenses are possible, your Palm Desert defense attorney can help you to negotiate a plea bargain or diversion program in order to avoid having a criminal record based on the false I.D. charge.
Our Palm Desert defense attorneys at Michael B. Goldstein, a Professional Law Corporation, can help you if you or your child has been charged with having a fake I.D. Give us a call today to learn more about how our experienced criminal law attorneys can work with you to resolve the criminal charges you are facing.
Protect your rights! Call (760) 772-4278 for a free and confidential appointment today.