Fake IDs Are Common Around Essex County Schools
Essex County residents should know that high school and college students in Essex County can readily make, buy, and use fake identification for any number of illicit purposes. Essex County has bars, clubs, and other adult entertainment establishments, just like other New Jersey counties. And Essex County retailers sell alcohol, vaping materials, tobacco products, and prescription or over-the-counter medications only for adults, just like other New Jersey counties. Essex County underage high school and college students in Newark, Livingston, West Caldwell, South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, North Caldwell, South Orange, West Orange, and other Essex County locales use fake IDs to gain access to those adult establishments, products, and services. Students at Essex County College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Caldwell University, and other Essex County colleges, and in the county's high schools, may face special peer pressure or other encouragement to use fake IDs to join in school social life and student festivities. Students even use fake IDs for good reasons, like access to transportation, computers, recreational facilities, and library materials. Those circumstances all combine to make fake ID sales, purchases, possession, and use a distinct Essex County problem. Underage Essex County students face significant fake ID temptations and problems.
Fake IDs Are Big Problems for Essex County Students
Don't make the mistake of underestimating the potential impact of a fake ID charge on your Essex County high school or college student. Yes, maturing students go through rites of passage, one of which can be experimenting earlier than the law allows with adult products and entertainment. Is it really such a big concern when an Essex County College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Caldwell University freshman or sophomore student, or a Newark high school senior, uses a fake ID to buy some beer to consume with friends? But some rites of passage carry huge potential penalties. Fake ID crime is one of those youthful indiscretions that can become one very big problem with long-term impacts on your Essex County student's future. If the police arrest your Essex County high school or underage college student on a fake ID charge, you should absolutely retain a highly skilled and experienced fake ID criminal defense attorney to help your student avoid the charge's worst consequences.
Essex County Prosecutors Charge Fake IDs Crimes
Don't make another mistake by assuming that your Essex County high school or college student will face only a ticket for a civil infraction, like a parking or speeding ticket, when arrested in Caldwell, Orange, Newark, or another Essex County location for a fake ID. New Jersey instead criminalizes fake ID misconduct. Your student would face a prosecutor's criminal charge in court, not a simple civil infraction ticket if arrested for a fake ID. And don't make the mistake of thinking that your underage student commits a New Jersey fake ID crime only when actually buying alcohol, tobacco, vaping materials, or another adult-only product. Instead, New Jersey criminalizes virtually any fake ID activity, including altering the birthdate on a driver's license, making a fake ID, selling or loaning ID for false use, using a fake ID, or even simply possessing a fake ID.
Essex County Fake ID Crimes Carry Stiff Penalties
Don't make another mistake by thinking that New Jersey fake ID crimes carry only minor penalties. On the contrary, the highest level of New Jersey fake ID crime carries penalties of up to ten years in prison and a $150,000 fine. Mid-level fake ID crimes carry maximum penalties of years in prison and a $10,000 fine. And even the lowest level fake ID crime can result in incarceration for up to two years. Fake ID crime can also lead to other criminal charges involving fraud, alcohol possession, and even sex or violence. Make sure your Essex County student doesn't head off to a senior year in high school or to college with the wrong information and impression. Set your student straight on the extraordinary risks of New Jersey fake ID crime. And if your student has already gone astray and faces Essex County fake ID charges, retain the best available Essex County fake ID defense attorney for the best outcome through New Jersey's criminal process.
Tampering With an ID in Essex County
New Jersey's least-serious fake ID crime is tampering with a state identification or driver's license to make it appear other than as issued. Tampering might, for example, involve your student altering the birthdate on a driver's license to present for entry into a club or to buy beer. Tampering is "only" a disorderly persons offense, but a disorderly persons offense still carries up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine. Essex County prosecutors commonly charge tampering for first offenses by high school or college students, even though they could have charged a higher level fake ID crime. New Jersey Statute Section 2C:28-7 authorizes tampering charges against your Essex County high school or college student for any of these acts:
- "(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."
Possessing a Fake ID in Essex County
New Jersey's next-level fake ID crime involves simply possessing a fake ID without any other necessary use or presentation of it. Police may seek possession charges if they find your underage student standing in line with a fake ID to enter a Newark or other Essex County adults-only establishment. Remarkably, New Jersey law makes possession a fourth-degree offense with up to eighteen months incarceration and a $10,000 fine. New Jersey Statute Section 2C:21-2.1(d) authorizes possession charges as follows:
"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."
Using a Fake ID in Essex County
New Jersey's next level fake ID offense involves using a fake ID. Fake ID use is a third-degree offense punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. As noted above, Essex County prosecutors commonly charge fake ID use only as a much lower level disorderly persons tampering offense, at least for first-time student offenders and especially if a skilled defense attorney represents the student seeking to minimize or dismiss the charge. The minor student who goes ahead and buys alcohol with the fake ID, though, will likely face a minor in possession (MIP) charge. New Jersey Statute Section 2C:21-2.1(c) authorizes the criminal fake ID use charge as follows:
"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."
Selling a Fake ID in Essex County
Continuing up the ladder of progressively more serious fake ID crimes, selling a fake ID is New Jersey's highest-level fake ID crime. Selling a fake ID is a New Jersey second-degree offense punishable by five to ten years imprisonment and up to a $150,000 fine. Your Essex County high school or college student faces extraordinary penalties if charged with the selling fake ID crime. Essex County prosecutors are generally well aware of how such a severe penalty can destroy an earnest young student's promising future. They may thus charge first-time-offender selling offenses as one of the above lower crimes, especially with skilled advocacy from an experienced criminal defense attorney whom the student's parents retain. New Jersey Statute Section 2C:21-2.1(a) defines the selling fake ID crime 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."
Other Impacts of Essex County Fake ID Convictions
Plainly, your Essex County high school or college student faces severe potential penalties if charged with any of the above New Jersey fake ID crimes. But those crimes can also carry other serious consequences. Under New Jersey Statute Section 2C:21-2.1(e), your student will lose his or her driver's license for at least six months and up to two years. Loss of driving privileges could cripple your student's pursuit of education and a job. The criminal court may also impose long hours of community service that distract and burden your student. School districts in Newark, Maplewood, Milburn, and across Essex County, and Essex County College, Caldwell University, and other county colleges and universities, have policies under which they discipline students who commit fake ID and other crimes. School penalties can range from loss of team sports, intramural sports, club, and other privileges, and loss of school honors and awards right up to school suspension or expulsion. Fake ID criminal conviction can also affect your student's college or university admission, vocational training, and jobs.
Retain a New Jersey Fake ID Attorney for Essex County Charges
Your best move to protect your Essex County high school or college student's future against fake ID charges is to retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Criminal Defense Team and preeminent New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for skilled and experienced Essex County fake ID defense.