College students, fake IDs, and underage drinking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Some overseas businesses have made a lot of money by providing college students with fake IDs. A while back, one company was offering a buy one, get one free arrangement. I know this because I actually represented a Penn State student that tried to purchase alcohol at a State College six pack shop using his first fake identification card, but the card was seized after the worker felt that it was not authentic. Undeterred, the student tried to get into a bar using his second fake ID. His luck was no better as the man was prohibited from entering the bar by the bouncer, who also called the police. The police charged the student with a summary offense of Possession of a False Identification Card under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6310.3.
Philadelphia Fake ID Case
A university student in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania recently purchased some fake identification cards from a company in China. The ID cards were being sent to campus, but a problem arose because the student shared a name with a university administrator. The cards were placed in the mailbox of the school administrator, and the administrator contacted local law enforcement. The police would not identify the actual school involved, but Villanova, Cabrini College, Easter University, and Valley Forge Military Academy are all located within Radnor Township.
Pennsylvania False Identification Card Charges
In Pennsylvania, police often charge college students that possess a fake ID with Possession of False Identification Card under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6310.3, which is a summary offense. The maximum sentence for this offense is up to 90 days in jail, a $300.00 fine, and a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges. While people understand that underage drinking and possession of a fake ID card are relatively minor summary offenses, many are surprised to discover that possessing a fake identification card could also be a misdemeanor offense. Instead of or in addition to the summary charge, the police sometimes file a charge under the Vehicle Code for possessing a false identification card, and that charge is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is the most severe misdemeanor charge in Pennsylvania. It makes the fake ID possession offense more severe than drug possession, furnishing alcohol to a minor, driving under the influence, or even simple assault.
Regrettably, too many people are not aware of the severe consequences for possessing a fake identification card. They view the act as a rite of passage or just something that college kids do. They find out the hard way that the severity of the criminal law does not always correlate to the relatively minor criminal activity involved. Another example - hosting an underage drinking party is considered Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, which is graded as a misdemeanor offense and carries a mandatory fine of $1,500.00 for the first violation and a $2,500.00 for every subsequent violation. While college students and their parents assume that prosecutors, such as the Centre County District Attorney, will not prosecute relativley minor incidents such as possession of a fake identification card or hosting an underage drinking party to the fullest extent of the law, but students and parents are sadly mistaken. College-related offenses often carry very severe penalties. Anyone charged with a criminal offense should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to try and obtain the best resolution possible to reduce the penalties in the short term and hopefully avoid long term collateral consequences such as a criminal record.