Fake IDs in Cumberland County
Fake IDs are a real issue for Cumberland County high school and college students to avoid. Students attending high school in Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, or the County's other coastal towns, or at Rowan College's South Jersey Cumberland Campus like to enjoy the company and recreations of older peers, just as much as students do in other areas of the state and country. When students hang out at the East Point Lighthouse, hike in Belleplain State Forest, or visit Fortescue Beach, they'll all generally do what students do, sometimes including youthful explorations into adult activities, including drinking alcohol or trying tobacco or other smoked products. Yet New Jersey laws, like laws elsewhere, reserve some of those recreations, like buying or drinking alcohol or buying or using tobacco products, for adults. Fake IDs are the temptation that Cumberland County high school and college students can face to keep up with older peers who are already of age and are thus enjoying those adult recreations legally. Cumberland County teens, although growing up in special coastal communities, are not immune from adult temptations and peer pressures.
Beware Cumberland County Fake ID Crime
Any parent of a Cumberland County high school or college student would hope that local police and prosecutors would ignore or treat lightly high school and college students using fake identification as a youthful indiscretion. After all, isn't it the seller of the alcohol or tobacco or other purveyors of adult privilege who should carry the heavier responsibility than the student presenting fake ID? But that's simply not the way New Jersey law treats activities involving fake government identification. Yes, bars, clubs, and retail shops have their own legal duties to avoid sales of alcohol and tobacco products to minors. But a student who presents a fake ID to obtain such an adult product, or even just possesses a fake ID with another student or shares an ID with another student who is a minor, commits the student's own New Jersey crime, potentially carrying stiff criminal penalties.
Fake ID Crimes Have Collateral Impacts
Stiff criminal penalties are not the only risk when a Cumberland County high school or college student gets involved with fake ID crimes. A criminal conviction relating to a fake ID could cost your student honors, recognition, reputation, and awards and even cost your student college, graduate school, job, and career opportunities. Your student could also face high school or college discipline, especially if the fake ID activity involved a school activity or event. Any criminal conviction is a bad thing at any point in life, but a criminal conviction so early in life can have other unfortunate long-term social and personal effects. Your high school or college student needs the best possible start at this transition time in life. If your student faces criminal charges or school discipline in Cumberland County relating to fake identification, retain New Jersey fake ID defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm for an aggressive and effective defense. Do everything you can to give your student the help your student needs for a good start in life.
Fake ID Crimes in New Jersey
Don't let your Cumberland County student think that fake identification is okay unless you use it for a specific purpose, such as to buy alcohol or tobacco products. On the contrary, New Jersey criminalizes nearly any activity involving the misuse of government identification. And don't let your student think it's only driver's licenses to which the fake ID crimes apply. New Jersey criminalizes the misuse not just of driver's licenses but also state ID cards, birth certificates, passports, or any other government document that identifies the holder, the holder's age, or other personal information. And the crimes are not just civil infractions or a small ticket. They are instead real crimes, everything from a relatively small disorderly persons offense right up through fourth-degree and third-degree offenses all the way to a second-degree offense constituting a very serious New Jersey crime. Here are several New Jersey fake ID crimes, from the least serious to the most serious crime.
Tampering with Government Identification
N.J.S.2C:28-7 criminalizes as tampering with a public record any act when anyone, including a Cumberland County student: “(1) Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, any record, document or thing belonging to, or received or kept by, the government for information or record, or required by law to be kept by others for information of the government; (2) Makes, presents, offers for filing, or uses any record, document or thing knowing it to be false, and with purpose that it be taken as a genuine part of information or records referred to in paragraph (1); or (3) Purposely and unlawfully destroys, conceals, removes, mutilates, or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing.” Tampering is a common way that Cumberland County police and prosecutors charge a student's presentation of a fake ID to buy alcohol or tobacco. Fortunately, a tampering offense under N.J.S.2C:28-7 is typically only a disorderly persons offense for a high school or college student attempting to buy alcohol or tobacco, even though it is a third-degree offense when an adult tries to defraud another. A disorderly persons offense carries a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time up to six months. While a disorderly person offense is the lowest fake ID offense level, up to six months in jail still presents a potentially stiff criminal penalty.
Possessing Fake Government Identification
Possessing a fake ID is the next most serious fake ID crime a wayward Cumberland County student might commit. N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(d) criminalizes possessing a fake government ID as a fourth-degree offense: “A person who knowingly possesses a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver's license, birth certificate, or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person's identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.” Fourth-degree offenses carry fines up to $10,000 and jail time up to eighteen months, which is obviously a very stiff penalty for a Cumberland County student.
Using Fake Government Identification
Using fake identification is an even more serious fake ID crime a Cumberland County student might commit. N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(c) criminalizes using fake identification to misrepresent one's age as a third-degree offense: “A person who knowingly exhibits, displays, or utters a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver's license, birth certificate, or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person's identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the third degree.” Third-degree offenses carry fines up to $15,000 and jail time up to five years. Under other New Jersey law, prosecutors charge a minor high school or college student buying alcohol with a fake ID only with a disorderly persons offense. A Cumberland County high school or college student could nonetheless face other criminal charges related to buying alcohol with a fake ID, such as a minor in possession of alcohol charge and a charge for assuming someone else's identity.
Selling Fake Government Identification
New Jersey law reserves the most serious fake identification for selling fake IDs. N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(a) criminalizes selling fake ID as a second-degree offense as follows: “A person who knowingly sells, offers or exposes for sale, or otherwise transfers, or possesses with the intent to sell, offer or expose for sale, or otherwise transfer, a document, printed form or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver's license, birth certificate, or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person's identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the second degree.” Second-degree offenses carry fines up to $150,000 and jail time from five to ten years. Those are very, very stiff criminal penalties for a young Cumberland County high school or college student.
Premier Fake ID Defense Available in Cumberland County
Fortunately, a Cumberland County fake ID criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. Your high school or college student has significant procedural rights and protections that an aggressive defense can put to sound strategic effect. Skilled and experienced fake ID defense attorney representation may also show the prosecution that educational alternatives to conviction, fines, and incarceration can serve the County and the student far better. If your student faces criminal charges or school discipline in Cumberland County involving fake identification, retain New Jersey fake ID defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm for the best available defense.