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    Everything You Need to Know About Fake ID Laws in California

    Posted on: May 10th, 2023 by Dod Law

    California Fake ID lawsCalifornia Fake ID laws

    California Fake ID laws make it a crime to show or possess a fake ID with the intent of using it to commit forgery. Being in possession of a fake ID in the state of California typically leads to penalties that involve a fine, jail time, or both.

    If you’ve been charged for using a fake ID or falsely accused, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Dod Law, APC right away for help. An aggressive, strong defense is the best way for you to protect your future, and our team has over 18 years of experience fighting for our clients’ rights.

    Is Possessing a Fake ID In California a Crime?

    Through Penal Code 470b, showing or possessing a fake ID in California for the intent of defrauding or deceiving another individual is a crime.

    This is referred to as a wobbler, which means prosecutors may charge it at their discretion as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Individuals charged with this crime could face a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison or jail.

    When Could an ID Prompt a Criminal Charge?

    Some common ways that a fake ID could create criminal liability include:

    1. You Altered a Government Card 

    Fake IDs are government cards that have been counterfeited, altered, changed, or distorted in some manner. Therefore, an ID may be considered “fake” if:

    • You have modified a legitimate government-issued ID to contain inaccurate or false information
    • You have recreated, reproduced, or copied a legitimate ID card and are not a government employee
    • You have created an ID card from scratch that’s intended to mimic a government-issued ID

    Essentially, anytime a legitimate ID is altered or if a completely new ID is produced with the intention of deceiving another, it may be seen as a fake ID that violates the law.

    2. You Are in Possession of a Fake ID 

    For you to be charged with fake ID charges, you must actually be in possession of a fake ID. In other words, you must possess or show a fake ID, or cause one to be displayed.

    There are a couple of types of possession when it comes to possessing or controlling a fake ID: actual and constructive. When you’re in “actual” possession, it means you are actually carrying and are in physical control of a fake ID. You have one in your wallet, backpack, pocket, or in your hands. With “constructive” possession, it means the fake ID is in an area that you have control over. For example, this location or area could be a drawer in your home, your car, or perhaps a table in your shed or garage.

    3. You Know the ID is Fake 

    Under 470b, simply having a fake ID in your possession isn’t quite enough to lead to criminal charges. You must actually know that the ID is falsified or fake. So, if you didn’t realize that your ID has been altered or isn’t legitimate, you can’t be convicted. 

    4. You Intended to Use the Fake ID 

    This means, you not only know that your ID is falsified or fake, but you have the intention of using it to commit a forgery. Basically, this means you plan on using the fake ID to dupe another individual or for the purpose of causing damage to, or a loss of, a financial, property, or legal right. You don’t necessarily need to actually commit a successful forgery, rather, you just need to have the intent.

    Penalties for Fake ID Possession in California

    Being in possession of a fake ID in the state of California can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. The seriousness of the charge will depend on the severity of the offense, the individual’s prior criminal record, and the facts of each person’s individual case

    Misdemeanor possession of a falsified or fake ID can be punishable by up to one year in jail, community service, summary probation, and/or up to $1,000 in monetary fines. Felony possession of a falsified or fake ID can be punishable by up to three years in state prison, community service, formal probation, and/or up to $10,000 in monetary fines.

    If you’re caught in possession of a fake ID in the state of California, you could also lose your driver’s license for up to one year. 

    Reach Out to the Reputable Legal Team at Dod Law and learn more about California Fake ID laws

    If you have been charged for possessing or showing a fake ID in California, contact our team at Dod Law, APC today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our lawyers have over 18 years of experience fighting for our clients’ rights. The only way for you to reduce the consequences of possession or showing a fake ID and protect your legal rights is through a strong defense. 

    Call us today at (619) 814-5110 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.

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