Carrying a False Identification Card in Pennsylvania

Many Penn State students and visiting friends are caught using fake IDs to get into bars or when trying to buy alcohol.  Bouncers at bars routinely call the police when they are given fake IDs.  Police officers have generally abandoned the “Cops in Shops” approach and instead wait outside State College six-pack shops or liquor stores to stop underagers after they purchased alcohol.

In most of these situations, the person is charged with a summary offense of Carrying a False Identification Card under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.3. If the officers involved were Liquor Control Enforcement, the person is also charged with Misrepresentation as to Age under 18 Pa.C.S. 6307 and Attempted Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor under 18 Pa.C.S. 6308. All three citations are summary offenses. The maximum sentence for the Fake ID and Misrepresentation as to Age is $300.00 fine and up to 90 days in jail, but, for the Attempted Purchase, the maximum fine is $500.00 for first offense and increases to $1,000.00 for subsequent offenses. Jail time in such cases would be extremely rare, generally only being imposed for people with a lengthy criminal history. The normal punishment for a conviction is payment of fines and costs.

Impact on Jobs

While payment of a fine is not that bad of a punishment, a conviction could make it more difficult to obtain a job in the future.  There is a misconception that summary convictions do not appear on background searches. Summary convictions CAN and often do appear on background searches. For the Fake ID and Misrepresentation as to Age charges, the person is normally required to be “processed”, which means that a person must have fingerprints and a mugshot taken. With processing, the case information is sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository, and the Repository sends it to the FBI.

Also, while the Fake ID and Misrepresentation as to Age charges are summary offenses, they are slightly worse when viewed by employers because they are crimen falsi offenses, meaning it crimes involving dishonesty or fraud. These charges are in the same category as forgery and theft.  Employers do not want to hire thieves or dishonest people, so these charges are viewed more negatively than convictions of other summary offenses like Underage Drinking.  So, while the grading of the charge is not overly severe, a conviction of Carrying a False Identification card could have a greater impact on a person’s ability to get a job in the future.  Also, subsequent offenses of Fake ID and Misrepresentation as to Age are increased to misdemeanor offenses. Because of the negative effects with a conviction, it makes getting the charge dismissed and then expunged very important.

First Time Offender Programs to Get a Dismissal

Many judges use first time offender programs, technically called pre-adjudicative or diversionary programs in relatively minor cases like Carrying a Fake ID, Underage Drinking, and Public Drunkenness.  In most counties, the judges do NOT use ARD, but they use similar programs that allow for the dismissal of the charges. Such programs generally require a person to: 1) pay court costs; 2) complete community service; 3) complete a class or program.

In Pennsylvania, a dismissed charge remains on the records.  The records should be moved to limited access, meaning the records should not be publicly accessible in the future. They would be accessible by courts, prosecutors, and police, and thereby could be considered by those groups if the person got into trouble again. An expungement means that the records are destroyed, so an expungement is better than limited access because having no records of an incident is better than having such records exist.

The dismissed charge is IMMEDIATELY eligible to be expunged. Many people conduct their own legal research and read that a person must wait for 5 years to expunge a summary offense. The 5 year wait only applies to convictions. If the charge is dismissed, it can, and should be immediately expunged. In order to have the records destroyed, a person must file an expungement petition and go through the Pennsylvania expungement process.

Free Case Review

Charged with Fake ID or other criminal offenses, contact the experienced attorneys at JD Law for a free case review.  You can contact us via email or by leaving a message at (814) 689-9139.