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What are the penalties for college students having fake IDs?

There are a number of colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. Of course, college students are sometimes known for going to parties and drinking alcohol. However, in order to drink alcohol before one is 21 years old, one must generally obtain it illegally. Oftentimes underage students will go to parties where alcohol is being served or they will ask another friend who is 21 to buy it for them.

However, many students also have fake driver’s licenses or other forms of identification that state that they are 21 when they are not. Others use another person’s ID that looks enough like them in the photo to purchase alcohol. While underage drinking is a relatively common practice among college students, having a fake ID is illegal and carries consequences if a person is convicted. Simply having the false identification is illegal even if the student is not using it to buy alcohol.

If a person is caught and charged with possessing a fake ID for the first time, he or she will face a summary offense and if they are caught two or more times, they could be guilty of a misdemeanor in the third degree and have to pay up to a $500 fine. Also, representing that one is 21 years old in order to obtain alcohol from a licensed dealer is also a crime and one could be convicted of a misdemeanor in the third degree and fined hundreds of dollars. In many cases, those caught with fake IDs will also face loss of their driving privileges for a period of time.

While there are immediate consequences that can affect a young person’s life, there are also long-term consequences that can affect their professional future. Trying to obtain alcohol by representing oneself as 21 or having a fake ID are criminal offenses; if a conviction results, the person will have a criminal record that may have to be disclosed on future job and school applications.

Many local students are charged with underage drinking or having a fake ID in Philadelphia every year and the consequences can be serious. Fortunately, there are defenses available and ways to keep the offense off a person’s record. Experienced attorneys understand these offenses and can help protect one’s legal rights through the process.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, “Title 18 §6310.3,” accessed Dec. 15, 2014


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