There are specific sections in the law that prohibit someone using a fake ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes or any other item that may require someone to be of a certain age….think GUNS!
California’s Stance on Fake IDs
If you are under the age of 21 and you use a fake identification for some unlawful purpose, it is not only a fake drivers license that can get you in trouble. It is any type of fake ID that can get you arrested.
For example, California Business and Professions Code Section 25661 states in part:
“(a) Any person under 21 years of age who presents or offers to any licensee, or agent or employee of a licensee, any written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity which is false, fraudulent or not actually their own for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, attempting to purchase or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure, the serving of any alcoholic beverage, or who possesses any false or fraudulent written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
So, under this law, if you try to use a passport, college ID or any other type of official looking document that is “false, fraudulent or not actually [your] own” you are subject to arrest.
Breaking that down you can see that even if it is your big brother or sister’s actual ID and it is legitimate for their use, it is illegal for you to use it to try to get a store clerk or bartender to believe that it is actually you, when it isn’t so that you can purchase alcohol.
Interstate Compact and Driving Privileges
Your privilege to drive in the State of California may also be suspended for one year. If your license is suspended in California for one year, you can consider it suspended in every other state of the union as the California DMV is in contact with all the other 49 DMV offices in the other states.
There is what is referred to as an Interstate Compact between all of the states wherein they have agreed with each other to honor in their state any action taken against a person’s privilege to drive in another state.
Penalties for Possessing a Fake ID
The Business and Professions Code offense of using or just possessing a fake ID is a misdemeanor under this California law and shall be punished by a fine of at least two hundred fifty dollars ($250), no part of which shall be suspended. The maximum fine can be $1,000. or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours nor more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service as determined by the court.
So even if you are able to convince a judge that you are a poor student or unemployed person, the judge can still impose significant community service for you to perform.
And remember, if you are just possessing the fake ID to try to buy cigarettes or a firearm when you are under the age of 21, you can be arrested for the possession and the seller can be arrested or fined for selling to you.
How About Using a Fake ID With a Cop?
Yes, no matter what age you may be, if you use a fake identification of any type when identifying yourself to a law enforcement officer, you are subject to arrest for a violation of Penal Code section 148.9. This law says:
“Any person who falsely represents or identifies himself or herself as another person or as a fictitious person to any peace officer….upon a lawful detention or arrest of the person, either to evade the process of the court, or to evade the proper identification of the person by the investigating officer is guilty of a misdemeanor”.
The punishment for this offense is up to 6 months in county jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
Cops are now trained at most levels of law enforcement to detect a false identification document.
The number of identity theft cases that there are now being committed by scammers who are after your money or credit have caused otherwise uninformed cops to get better educated in recognizing a fake ID.