The Risks of Underaged Drinking and Fake IDs

Teenagers and college students have recently been targeted for the possession or use of fake ID’s.  The real-life consequences of using phony identification to purchase alcohol can be more severe than some people realize.  A negative criminal history can have a significant impact on future educational and career coals.

Let’s take a closer look at underaged drinking and how the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board regulates it.

Fake IDs and Drinking: The Consequences

While some people may believe that using fake IDs is something of a rite of passage for many teens, the truth is that state regulatory and law enforcement officials take a much dimmer view of the practice.

If you are caught with a fake ID, the penalty is a minimum fine of $250 and/or up to 32 hours of community service. More serious cases (such as those where the use of a fake ID led to a car crash that caused injuries) can be punished with more severe penalties. California has a felony fake ID charge that applies to more serious cases involving identity theft, forgery, etc.

Fake IDs include any of the following that has been altered: Driver’s licenses, passports, Social Security cards, government and military IDs.

Additionally, the use of a fake ID may lead to a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you don’t have a license yet, you may have to wait an extra year to get one if convicted.

These penalties apply to the acts of possessing alcohol, attempting to purchase alcohol and purchasing alcohol. California also has a “zero tolerance” law that means that if you are under 21 and have had even a sip of alcohol before driving, you may lose your license for up to 3 years.

Finding the Right Attorney

If you have been arrested for underage drinking or possessing a fake ID, it is possible to contest these charges by showing that you did not know the ID was fake or that you did not have it in your possession. Additionally, defendants may also argue the concept of intent (an artist who creates a fake ID as part of a project, for example).   Most importantly, these cases can often be steered towards an informal City Attorney or District Attorney hearing.  This type of hearing can reduce the chances of formal charges being filed resulting no criminal history.   This result can be invaluable.  Recently, our attorneys have handled several of these cases for USC and UCLA students cited for being in possession of a fake ID while at a bar or for purchasing alcohol with such a fake ID.

It is important to work with an experienced attorney. The right attorney can help you navigate this process and minimize the potential of a criminal history which can negatively impact your future educational or career goals.

If you need help with a similar situation, call Goldstein Law Group today for a consultation.