What Are the Legal Consequences of Using a Fake ID?

What Are the Legal Consequences of Using a Fake ID?

Legal identifications give adults several privileges.

You can buy alcohol, cash a check, rent an apartment, and more. Interestingly, false identity documents or fake IDs have become a real thing. Advancing technologies, especially the development of photo editing software, high-quality printing, and professional counterfeit ID makers, have made it easier to create fake IDs, unlike before.

Most people create fake IDs to buy alcohol or access bars when underage. Fake IDs primarily use forged, altered, or another person’s information without their knowledge, which is largely illegal. Owning a fake ID can land you in serious legal trouble, depending on the offense. The laws surrounding fake IDs include several activities. Different states also have varying laws that attract different actions. 

Crimes Involving Fake IDs

Generally, federal and state laws prohibit creating, selling, and altering legitimate documents. Purchasing, using, and possessing these items is also punishable. Crimes involving fake IDs include:

  • Making and selling fake IDs: Creating and selling fake identity documents is a felony. Any crime that involves forging government-issued documents attracts felony penalties.
  • Being in possession of a fake ID: This is the most common fake ID offense. Anyone caught is charged with possessing a fake ID, even if they don’t intend to use it.
  • Using a fake ID: Penalties for using a fake ID depend on the intended use. For instance, using a fake ID to falsify your identity attracts felony charges. Using a fake ID to buy alcohol, vape pens, or cigarettes attracts misdemeanor penalties.

Penalties for Fake IDs

Because of the multiple crimes involving fake IDs, penalties also vary. They include:

Misdemeanor and felony penalties

Most people caught with fake IDs are charged with misdemeanor or felonies depending on the state laws and circumstances. For instance, having a fake driver’s license or using a fake ID to buy a firearm is considered a felony. Penalties for these crimes are:

  • Jail time: Using a fake ID can land you in jail. However, while some state laws allow for a jail sentence, jail time isn’t preferred for first offenders and misdemeanor crimes. Jail term varies from 30 days to one year and up to 10 years for serious felony offenses.
  • Probation: Fake ID convictions can also result in probation. Here, the judge orders offenders to comply with strict conditions over a given period. They should also report to a probation officer, give a notice when leaving town, shouldn’t associate with already known criminals, and pay the required fines.
  • Most fake ID crimes involve underage persons, especially those between 18 and 21 years who use a fake ID to buy alcohol and other drugs. Note that being in possession of a fake ID is a crime already. Using the ID for illegal activity attracts additional charges.
  • Fines: Most people caught with fake IDs are fined. Similarly, fines for fake ID crimes vary. First offenders are fined less than those convicted of felony offenses.


While having a fake ID might seem inconsequential, it can bring trouble, especially if you’ve been convicted of a crime before. A conviction for felony charges is a lifetime burden. If you’ve been caught with a fake ID or using a fake ID, do consult a criminal defense lawyer. An experienced lawyer will advise and defend your case.


Leave A Reply