College towns like State College, Altoona, and Lock Haven have a high number of fake ID cases because the college students and their friends want to buy alcohol or get into bars before they turn 21. The person generally gets caught after he or she gives the fake ID to a bar bouncer or an attendant at a six pack shop or liquor store. Other students are charged with Possession of a False Identification Card after they pass out due to over-consumption of alcohol, and the police search the wallet or purse of the person to try and identify them. In searching the wallet or purse for proper identification, the police discover the fake ID card.
Serious Charges for Possession a Fake ID
In many areas of Pennsylvania, a first offense of Possession of a False Identification Card that is related to the attempted purchase of alcohol by an underage person is filed as a non-traffic summary offense under section 6310.3 of the Crimes Code. A second violation of this law is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. A summary conviction of section 6310.3 has a maximum sentence of 90 days incarceration and a $300.00 fine, whereas the second and subsequent convictions have a maximum sentence of 1-year incarceration and a $500.00 fine. A conviction of section 6310.3 also results in a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges, with a first offense receiving a 90 day suspension, a second offense receiving a 1-year suspension, and a third and subsequent offense receiving a 2-year suspension.
In some State College possession of fake ID cases, the State College and Penn State Police Departments file a charge of Violations Concerning Licenses under section 1571 of the Vehicle Code. More specifically, the police file a charge of violating 1571(a)(5), which prohibits a person from even possessing a fictitious or fraudulently altered driver's license. This offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is the most severe misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, and is punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration and a $10,000.00 fine. This charge is actually more severe than a DUI, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, and Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana.
Avoiding a Conviction in a Fake ID Case
While the maximum penalties permitted by law for a case of possession of a false identification card are severe, it is unlikely that a person would be sent to jail in this type of case. However, as with all criminal charges, it is important to avoid a conviction for criminal record purposes. Avoiding a conviction in a Fake ID case is more important as the charge is considered a crimen falsi offense, meaning it is a crime that involves falsehood and fraud, and thereby is placed in the same category as theft, perjury, and forgery.
Given the long term impact that a crimen falsi offense can have on employment opportunities, it is very important to take the steps necessary to try and avoid a conviction of a State College Fake ID charge. If a resolution is obtained that results in the dismissal of the Fake ID charge, then an expungement petition may be filed to try and have the government records related to the criminal charge destroyed.
Avoiding a conviction may be reached by negotiating a favorable resolution with the police officer, litigating or fighting the case, or by participating in a first-time offender program such as ARD. ARD is often allowed for the misdemeanor charges of Possession of a False Identification Card and Violations Concerning Licenses, but Centre County does not have an ARD program for summary offenses. In the past, Centre County Magisterial District Judges utilized a first-time offender program known as the Youthful Offender Program (YOP) for summary offenses of Possession of a False Identification Card, but the YOP disposition is generally limited to Underage Drinking cases now.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Possession of a False Identification Card, Violations Concerning Licenses, or other Fake ID related charges, you should contact State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle for a free consultation.