Being a State College criminal defense attorney since 2004, I have represented many Penn State students charged with Possession of a Fake ID. Of course, the quality of the Fake IDs varies from the high quality ones purchased from ID Chief to the low budget ones picked up at Jersey Shore vendors.
I recently read an article from England in which an underage person attempted to use a Fake ID that used a cartoon picture of Bobby King from the Fox show King of the Hill. According to the article, the underage person tried to buy alcohol from 22 establishments, and he was able to purchase from 13 of them. Of the 13 that permitted the underager to purchase alcohol, 7 never requested photo ID, but the remaining 6 furnished alcohol to the underage after viewing the cartoon fake ID. I am not sure which is worse, not requesting ID and thereby pleading complete ignorance, or looking at such an obvious fake ID, thereby knowing that the person was underage, and still furnishing alcohol to the underager.
State College Bars Would Not Accept Cartoon Picture Fake ID
Penn State students are surprised to find out that the local State College bars are fairly effective in spotting even the good fake IDs. The bouncers in State College do not simply seize the fake ID from the student but also contact the police to have them file Fake ID charges. After the Fake ID charges are filed, the bouncers routinely appear before the Centre County magisterial district court to testify against the underage possessor of the Fake ID. Criminal defense lawyers from other areas are also surprised to discover how thoroughly Fake ID cases are prosecuted in State College.
State College Police File Misdemeanor Fake ID Charge
Since Penn State students have been obtaining higher quality fake IDs from ID Chief, some of the State College police by filing misdemeanor Possession of Fake ID charges under the Vehicle Code instead of the Possession of Fake ID summary offense under the Crimes Code. In talking with other criminal defense lawyers acroos the state, I am not aware of any other area that filed the misdemeanor Fake ID charge in these circumstances.
The charge of Fake ID under the Crimes Code is located in the same chapter as Underage Drinking and is clearly geared towards punishing people that possess a fake ID in order to purchase alcohol while being underage. To me, it seems obvious that the Pennsylvania legislature intended that the summary charge of Fake ID was intended to be used to punish underagers that possessed or used a Fake ID in order to buy alcohol.
Not only is the Fake ID charge under the Vehicle Code a misdemeanor, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A first degree misdemeanor is the most severe misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and carries a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration and a $10,000.00 fine. This makes a charge of Fake ID more severe than charges of Simple Assault and even repeat offenses of DUI.