Friday, December 9, 2011

Fake IDs: Fun but a Possible Felony

When young adults think about the consequences “getting caught” or “busted” with a fake ID, they may imagine being lectured at by a bartender, being ejected from a club by a burly bouncer or perhaps being turned away from the local package store.  In all three cases, the worst that young adults imagine may happen to them is that they will lose the fake ID, and the sometimes substantial cost it took to acquire it, or that their parents might be called.

The truth, however, is that getting caught with a fake ID in Connecticut can have much more serious legal ramifications.  Under Connecticut law (General Statutes §§ 53a-138 and 139), if you are caught with a fake ID, which includes any ID that bears false information such as altered age or other personal information, you can be arrested and charged with forgery.  Forgery in this case means that the person, with an intent to deceive another, falsely made, possessed or altered a written instrument that he or she knew to be forged.  This would include trying to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol at a bar or at a package store as well as being arrested for another crime and the police discovering that you have a fake ID in your purse or wallet.  Depending on the level of seriousness, a person with a fake ID can be charged with second degree forgery, which is a felony.  If convicted, the law mandates that the person serve at least one year in prison, but not more than five years.

Regardless of the arguments in favor and against lowering the drinking age, the fact is that 21 is the mandated drinking age in Connecticut and across the United States.  Although buying and using a fake ID may seem like a moment of harmless fun, it carries with it significant risks that far outweigh, and could long outlast, the thrill of purchasing alcohol before the law permits.

Questions or comments? Contact Jared Cantor.