It is not uncommon for high schoolers and first-year college students to enlist the help of an older friend or family member so they can purchase alcohol, tobacco, or recreational marijuana. Instead of purchasing the items themselves, some adults opt to lend teens their driver’s licenses instead. In an act of desperation, a teen may even steal an ID card from an adult. While this is a crime that can lead to community service and fines, it typically is not considered identity theft unless the ID card was used to commit fraud.
Despite the ID being real, using someone else’s ID and passing it off as your own is considered possession of a fake ID. If you or your child has been charged with possession of a fake ID, or worse, identity theft in California, a seasoned criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate on your behalf to lessen the penalties you face. Your attorney will take the time to get to know you and independently investigate your case to develop the best strategy for a successful outcome.
Penalties for Possession of a Fake ID in California
A person under 21 using a fake ID or someone else’s ID to purchase alcohol or gain entry to a club is considered a misdemeanor offense in California under BPC 25661. If convicted, the minor could face up to $250 in fines and up to 32 hours of community service. If the same minor is convicted a second time, they could be fined up to $500 and be sentenced to up to 48 hours of community service.
If someone over the age of 21 uses a fake ID or someone else’s ID, they could be charged with a misdemeanor under VC 13004. Many people may assume that someone over 21 would not need a fake ID. However, a person who is not a U.S. citizen may use a fake California driver’s license or someone else’s to operate a vehicle, purchase alcohol, or go to a bar. Additionally, it is also a crime to lend someone your ID card under this law. If you willingly lend a minor or an adult your license, you could be charged with unlawful use of an ID card. If the individual who used a fake ID or lent someone their ID is caught and convicted, they could be sentenced to up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
When Does Using Someone Else’s ID Become Identity Theft?
When an individual illegally obtains someone else’s identifying information, such as their driver’s license number, and uses that information to commit fraud or another unlawful act, they could be charged with identity theft under PC 503.5. While using someone else’s ID to purchase alcohol is typically not considered identity theft, using a stolen ID to cash a check, gain access to medical records, or open a credit card can escalate the charge.
The penalties for an identity theft conviction could be severe and have a lasting impact on your life. The prosecutor for your case can choose to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime. A felony theft conviction can be penalized with up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence of three years. Individuals convicted of felonies also often have difficulty finding work and housing and may have trouble maintaining their relationships.
Contact a Dependable California Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or your child has been arrested for using someone else’s ID card, there could be several statutes that apply to the case, making it legally dense and complex. A highly-qualified criminal defense attorney will have the legal expertise to make sure you understand the charges against you and help develop an action plan moving forward. Attorney Dod of Dod Law, APC, is an expert in California law and has dedicated his career to being a tireless advocate for his client’s rights. Attorney Dod has 17 years of experience defending clients in California and protecting their rights. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case, call us today at (619) 814-5110 or fill out our contact form.