Using proper identification is essential to carry out a number of activities in our daily lives from boarding an airplane to proving our age and address. However, some individuals will attempt to surreptitiously present themselves as someone else by using false identification. Whether this activity is meant to defraud a person or authority as to the holder’s true age or identity, the practice is not sanctioned by the law. This seemingly “innocent” criminal behavior comes with serious consequences. If you’re arrested and charged with the possession of fake identification, you will want to consider hiring a San Diego college crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Was I Arrested?
The offense of possessing fake identification is broken down into two essential elements. To be arrested for this specific charge, you would have been in possession of or displayed the fake identification. In addition to your actions, you would have also displayed the required intent of using the fake identification to commit a forgery. Once these two elements are apparent, you will be charged.
The definition of a fake identification is extensive. It includes a driver’s license or any other government-issued identification. To be fake, it must have been altered, falsified, forged, duplicated, reproduced, or is a counterfeit. The intent component is explained as an intention to deceive someone for the purpose of causing loss or damage to their rights. For example, a 19-year-old college student presents an identification in a bar that contains a false name and birthday with the intention of being served alcohol.
Possession of fake identification is not a petty matter. Under California law, the offense is considered a “wobbler”. Accordingly, the prosecution can exercise the right to file the charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. In coming to a decision, a prosecutor will assess the particular allegations in your case in addition to your criminal history. In both instances, the charge carries serious consequences if you are found guilty.
What Are The Penalties?
The judicial consequences associated with being found guilty of possession of a fake identification will depend on whether the prosecution tries the case as a misdemeanor or as a felony. The former carries the following penalties:
- A maximum of one year of jail time; and/or
- Fine of $1,000
For felony possession of a fake identification, you could face upwards of three years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
In addition to court sentencing, there may be possible administrative disciplinary actions taken by your school. Depending on whether you are in high school or college, such administrative actions will vary. Since this offense is generally committed by a minor, how a criminal conviction will affect further college applications and job prospects will be paramount in your mind. Accordingly, you should seriously consider hiring a San Diego college crimes lawyer.
Do I have a Case?
Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, you are innocent until proven guilty. Prior to trial, your lawyer will facilitate motions to have your charges reduced or dismissed after an assessment of your case. If your matter should go to trial, the law affords you the following defenses:
- You were not aware that the identification was fake.
- There was no intention to use the identification to commit any forgery.
- There was no fake identification in your possession.
Fighting the charges will be critical to securing your freedom and protecting your future. It is not advisable to approach the court without a lawyer. IF you are a minor, your parents will be responsible for getting a lawyer and for the purpose of your charge, it would be imperative to hire an attorney with extensive knowledge handling criminal matters involving juveniles.
Call A San Diego Defense Attorney
At McElfresh Law, our lawyers possess years of experience in criminal defense litigation. Our knowledge includes an in-depth understanding of the juvenile criminal system and our defense attorneys have represented a number of individuals charged with possession of a fake identification.
Our lawyers are equipped with the necessary investigative and legal tools to advocate for charge reduction or dismissal. Our commitment is to provide high-quality legal representation in your time of need.
Call us today at (858) 283-5367 and let us discuss your case.