Fake IDs are common on many college campuses throughout the country. What most people may not realize is that Utah’s fake ID laws are extremely serious, and you can actually face very harsh punishments for having or using a fake ID. If you or your child was charged with giving false identification to law enforcement or using it to purchase alcohol, you may need to contact a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer for help with your case. For a free consultation, contact attorney Darwin Overson of Overson Law today.
Is Using a Fake ID a Crime in Utah?
Most people using fake IDs do so to get alcohol underage. However, many others use fake IDs as part of an identity theft scam or to hide their true identity from police. The law does take into account the reason behind using a fake ID, but the act of using a fake ID still carries steep fines and penalties.
Utah Code § 32B-1-403 covers the crimes for using a fake ID as a false proof of age. This crime covers any use of a false proof of age to:
- Get alcoholic products,
- Get into an age-restricted area (e.g. a bar), or
- To get age-restricted employment (e.g. bartending).
If you use a fake ID for any of these purposes, you may be convicted of a class A misdemeanor. If this was your first violation, the crime may be reduced to a class B misdemeanor, instead. Allowing someone else to use your ID to do any of these things is a class B misdemeanor. On top of the false ID offenses, you can also face charges for buying alcohol underage, underage drinking, or entering an age-restricted area underaged.
If you try to give false ID information to a police officer, you could face charges for a class C misdemeanor. If the information that you give is actually someone else’s information rather than made-up info, you could face a class A misdemeanor instead. This is illegal under Utah Code § 76-8-507.
All levels of misdemeanor are considered criminal offenses in Utah. This means that you could face the potential of sitting in jail while you await trial, paying bail, being summoned to court dates, facing a trial, and being sentenced to a term of imprisonment, fines, and other penalties.
Penalties for Using a False ID in Utah
As mentioned above, these crimes are all misdemeanor offenses. A misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony, is punished by up to one year in prison. On the other hand, felonies are punished by over one year in jail. In Utah, there are three levels of misdemeanors:
- A class A misdemeanor is punished by up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
- A class B misdemeanor is punished by up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
- A class C misdemeanor is punished by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $750.
In Utah, there are also lesser offenses than misdemeanors and felonies known as “infractions.” Infractions are punished by fines only, up to $750.
In many cases, the penalties for using a fake ID are not used to their full extent. This may mean that you will not be punished by a full year in prison and fines up to $2,500, especially if this fake ID charge is your first offense. Judges, prosecutors, and police may use their discretion to, instead, allow you to plead guilty to a lower offense. Our attorneys may be able to work out such a “plea agreement,” which would allow you to avoid the misdemeanor charges and plead guilty to an infraction or another lower level offense instead.
However, you should never rely upon a plea agreement without consulting an attorney. In addition, you should never assume that you will be offered a plea agreement. If you committed the crime, there is a chance the government may demand punishment to the fullest extent of the law. In these situations, you should definitely consult an attorney.
A misdemeanor charge may not be as severe as a felony charge, but it can still wreak havoc on your current situation and future options. If you are in school or seeking a scholarship, your admission or funds may be denied if you have a record of a misdemeanor conviction. In addition, employers and licensing boards may look to your criminal record and deny applicants who have a record, even for something as seemingly simple as using a fake ID.
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or your child was charged with a crime for using or having a fake ID, it is important to talk to an attorney about the case. Because the law authorizes very steep penalties, you could be facing up to a year in prison and very expensive fines. For help with your case, contact Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson of Overson Law today. Call our law offices at (810) 895-3143 for a free consultation on your charges.