What Are the Penalties for Using a Fake ID in Utah?

A driver’s license or other government-issued identification card is more than just pieces of plastic with your picture. It is official government documentation regarding identification. Using a false or fake ID is a serious offense.

Most people would probably assume that penalties for using a fake ID revolve around using a fake ID to buy alcohol. While this is certainly a common criminal offense, it is not the only way you can use a fake ID. Identification is required in numerous circumstances, and using a falsified ID or borrowing someone else’s might be a criminal offense. The penalties for using a fake ID vary based on why the fake ID was used. You can also be charged for producing or selling fake IDs. A fake ID might be manufactured by someone who is not a government official. In other cases, fake IDs are real IDs that belong to someone else.

You should call an attorney immediately if you were recently charged for using a fake ID. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers can help you fight the charges. For a free case review, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.

Using a Fake ID in Utah

There are several ways in which a person might use a fake ID and end up with criminal charges. Perhaps the most well-known offense is using a fake ID to buy alcohol. This is a relatively common offense often committed around college campuses. Additionally, people younger than 21 might not use a fake ID to buy alcohol but instead gain access to an establishment that sells alcohol, such as a bar or nightclub.

While using a fake ID to get alcohol is arguably the most common criminal act involving fake IDs, it is not the only one. A fake ID might be used anywhere that identification is required. For example, a bank teller might check someone’s ID before withdrawing money from a bank account to ensure the correct person is receiving the funds. Using a fake ID to withdraw money from an account that you are unauthorized to access might be an act of forgery.

If you have been accused of using a fake ID for an unlawful purpose, our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you explore your defense options. In many cases, IDs are real and valid, but security personnel, cashiers, or anyone else who checks IDs mistakenly believes them to be fake. This is somewhat common in situations where a person who appears younger than their true age shows their very real ID.

Penalties for Using a Fake ID in Utah

Penalties for using a fake ID can be found under Utah Code § 53-3-810. While many of these charges and penalties revolve around the illegal purchase of alcohol by minors, many other charges do not. People are often surprised when they are charged with crimes related to using a fake ID because there was no alcohol involved in the offense. Our Ogden criminal defense attorneys can help you understand the nature of your charges and the best way to defend yourself.

It may be charged as a Class C misdemeanor to do any of the following:

  • Allow someone else to use your ID
  • Use someone else’s ID as your own
  • Refuse to surrender your ID to a law enforcement officer
  • Use false information to renew or apply for an ID card
  • Use a revoked ID card as if it were valid
  • Acquire, use, display, or transfer a fake ID while passing it off as a real ID
  • Alter any information on an ID

In addition to penalties for Using a fake ID, you can also be charged for issuing fake IDs. You may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if you issue an ID with false or fraudulent information. You may also be charged if you issue a fraudulent ID to someone younger than 21, but the ID says the ID holder is at least 21. You can also be charged if you use a fake ID to buy a tobacco, e-cigarette, or nicotine product.

Finally, in more extreme cases, people using fake IDs can be charged with third-degree felonies. Such charges are assessed if the defendant allegedly acquires or uses a fake ID in such a way that aids their efforts to obtain goods or services fraudulently, or commit a violent felony.

Fake IDs and Forgery Charges in Utah

Criminal charges related to fake IDs may be assessed not only for people using the IDs but for those producing or distributing them. Under Utah Code § 76-6-501(2), a defendant can be charged with forgery for creating or using fake IDs. If you are accused of creating a fake ID, our Layton criminal defense lawyers can assist you in challenging the accusations.

To be charged, the defendant must have allegedly altered the writing of another or uttered an altered writing. A writing may be any document used to establish identification (like a driver’s license), and uttering a writing includes using, presenting, or submitting the writing. Many fake IDs are actually real IDs that have been altered. For example, placing the photo of a minor on the ID of a 21-year-old so the ID now says the minor is 21 would be an act of forgery. Such an act may be charged as a third-degree felony.

Those passing off a fake ID as if it were real might not necessarily be charged with forgery. Forgery typically involves altering an existing ID or creating an entirely fake one. With today’s technology, fake IDs can be very convincing, and law enforcement is usually more interested in stopping the person producing fake IDs than young kids looking to buy beer. Our Park City criminal defense lawyers can help you strike a plea deal with prosecutors if you were caught with an allegedly fake ID. We might get your charges dropped or reduced if you explain to them who supplied you with the fake ID.

Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Free Case Review

While most people associate fake IDs with college kids trying to get into a bar or club, significant criminal charges might also be involved. Our South Jordan criminal defense lawyers can help you challenge the charges against you. For a free case review, call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.