With Arizona having 3 major universities, there is an excess of minors who are looking to enjoy their college experience, and usually this college experience involves the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. In order to live that college experience that they have been dreaming of, many minors will naively obtain a fake ID with the hope that it is good enough to get them into a bar or to put a 6-pack in their mini-fridge, all the while not realizing they are putting their future careers on the line.
To put this into perspective, between 2015 to 2016 just short of 4000 fake IDs were collected by police officers in Tempe, with countless more being thrown away by establishments. With thousands of minors using a fake ID, a disconnect seems to have been created as many minors are being caught with a fake ID and incorrectly believing there are not any legal consequences for their actions.
Understanding Fake Identification Cards in Arizona:
- Any form of state or federal identification that has been altered is considered a fake ID
- A valid ID being used by someone it does not belong to is considered a fake ID
- You can be arrested, fined, and/or serve jail time for possessing a fake ID
- Selling a fake ID typically will have more severe charges than possessing one
What are Fake IDs?
Fake identification cards can be used for a wide variety of reasons, but their main purpose is to mask the true identity of a person. A fake ID is any form of state or federal identification that has been altered, forged or has in any other way been created to falsify the identity of a person, or it is the use of a valid identification card that belongs to someone else.
Possession of a Fake ID in Arizona
With thousands of fake IDs being confiscated and countless more being used without notice, it appears that there is a common belief that using a fake ID is socially acceptable. Another common belief is that being caught with a fake ID will result in nothing more than a slap on the wrist. This is a misconception, and one that has seen many minors end up facing serious legal consequences that negatively affect their future.
If you try and use a fake ID at an establishment such as a bar or liquor store, the employee checking your ID will be doing so with extreme care. People required to check IDs have strict liability necessitating them to be able to deter minors from entering their establishment or purchasing alcohol. If you are in possession of a fake ID and are caught trying to use it by someone other than the police, it is up to their discretion to call the police or not.
Most of the time, involving the police ends up being a hassle that the establishment does not want to go through and they will choose to let you off with a warning if you surrender the ID and simply walk away. However, if you are rude and try to argue over the validity of the ID, then the police will most likely be called and there will be legal consequences.
Charges for Possessing and Using a Fake ID in Arizona
If you try and use a fake ID at an establishment such as a bar or liquor store, and the employee checking your ID believes it to be fake, they can call the police and have you arrested as well as file charges for trespassing. In Arizona, a minor caught using or in possession of a fake ID is a class 1 misdemeanor and due to the legal liabilities that an establishment can face by serving a minor, the police will often be called to sort out the issue.
Once the police get involved, they will first seek to determine the legitimacy of the ID and if it is indeed fake, they have several different options of charges they can file.
Common charges and events surrounding the use of a fake ID are:
- An arrest can be made on the grounds of using false identification
- Charge can be filed for making a false statement to a police officer
- Jail time up to 6 months
- Suspended drivers license for 6 months if the ID is real and belongs to someone else
- Fine of up to $2,500
Jail Time for Having a Fake ID
The charges related to the use and possession of a fake ID are harsh and daunting as they can negatively impact the life of a young adult with fines and possible jail time, but most of the time jail and charges can be avoided. In fact, most first time offenders will face nothing more than a ticket for their use of a fake ID so long as they act politely and in a timely manner admit to using the ID.
Though the minor will have to pay the fees associated with the ticket, they will not be facing any of the harsh charges listed above and most importantly will not have to spend any time in jail as receiving the ticket and not facing actual charges will prevent this event from staying on their permanent record. As a first time offender, a minor is eligible to take an alcohol diversion class which upon completion will expunge the ticket from their record, allow the minor to avoid court and prevent this mistake from affecting their life and eventual pursuit of a career.
FAQ about Fake IDs in Arizona:
Q: Is using a fake ID a felony?
In Arizona, the use of a fake ID is a class 1 misdemeanor but that charge is only related to the possession of the ID and does not take into account any illegal activity that may have happened such as minor in consumption.
Q: What do bouncers do with fake IDs?
Bouncers and the establishments they work will typically require you to surrender the fake ID to them and then it is up to their discretion to hand it over to the police or keep it.
Q: Is selling fake IDs illegal?
Selling fake IDs is illegal and the consequences for doing so are often more harsh than those for using a fake ID.
What to Do If You Have Been Arrested for Having a Fake ID in Arizona
With the overwhelming amount of fake ID’s being used for the consumption of alcohol, it is common for multiple charges to be filed in addition the charge of having a fake ID and each of the charges can affect your future.
If you are facing charges stemming from the use of a fake ID and your future is being impacted, an experienced criminal defense attorney is here to assist you.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.
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