Fake IDs Are a Common School Issue
Pretty much everyone knows that some high school and college students in Ocean County, New Jersey, occasionally use fake identification. Fake IDs can facilitate underage drinking, access to a club, renting a car, buying e-cigarettes and other vaping material, and claiming other adult privileges for which some students just don't want to wait. Peer pressure to join in recreations that other, older students are doing legally, whether in Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, or after a day at Six Flags Great Adventure, can be a big thing for a student not yet of legal age for that fun. Some students will also use a fake ID trying to avoid police suspicion, detection, and arrest around those adult activities. Students also use a fake ID around school campuses to gain access to recreational facilities, library resources, computer resources, transportation, sporting events, and other benefits. That much is a given: fake IDs are a common issue among high school and college students. Fake identification is also an issue among adults for various reasons, including employment background checks, immigration status, firearms purchases, prescription purchases, and other activities requiring identification. But fake IDs are often an especially big issue for the young.
Fake IDs Are No Small Issue
To some students, and maybe even to their parents, using fake ID may seem like a youthful indiscretion, even a rite of passage among the young attending Ocean County College, Georgian Court University, another Ocean County college, or Lakewood High School, one of the Toms River high schools, or another Ocean County high school. Yet using fake identification is no small issue. Using fake identification implicates several New Jersey crimes. If you are the parent of a high school or college student who is not yet of age for adult recreations in which you suspect your student might wish to engage, you should know that your student's use of fake ID could get your student charged with a serious crime. And not only that, but your student's use of fake identification could also cause the high school or college that your student attends to discipline your student under school policies prohibiting the use of a fake ID. Your student could face not only state criminal charges but also school discipline right up to suspension or expulsion. Fake IDs are no small issue. Fake IDs are a big issue that could, if mishandled, cripple your student's ability to get on in life. If your student faces criminal charges or school discipline in Ocean County involving fake identification, retain New Jersey fake ID defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm for the best available defense.
New Jersey Criminalizes Fake IDs
Don't let your Ocean County student mistakenly assume that presenting a fake ID is just a civil infraction, a small ticket, or maybe a small fine. And don't let your student mistakenly think that presenting a truly fake ID or buying alcohol with a fake ID are the only fake ID crimes. Although New Jersey statutes make some fake ID crimes much more serious than other fake ID crimes, those statutes criminalize all manner of fake ID crimes, so broadly as to reach almost any conduct involving in any way a fake ID. And they are real crimes, not just civil infractions. Following are four of New Jersey's fake ID crimes, beginning in descending order of seriousness from a New Jersey second-degree offense through third-degree and fourth-degree offenses down to a disorderly persons offense. When your high school student heads out for fun in one of Ocean County's wonderful beach towns, or your college student heads off to Ocean County College, don't let them entertain the thought of using a fake ID in any way.
Selling a Fake ID
N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(a) criminalizes as a second-degree offense selling a fake ID: “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 a fine of up to $150,000 and incarceration for five to ten years, incredibly steep penalties for your Ocean County high school or college student.
Using a Fake ID
N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(c) criminalizes as a third-degree offense using a fake government ID to misrepresent one's age 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.” Third-degree offenses carry a fine of up to $15,000 and incarceration of up to five years. Fortunately, authorities typically charge a minor high school or college student attempting to buy alcohol with only a disorderly persons offense under this statute, as other law interprets it. Your young Ocean County high school or college student could still face a minor in possession charge and a charge for assuming someone else's identity.
Possessing a Fake ID
N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(d) criminalizes as a fourth-degree offense possessing, but not actually using, a fake government ID: “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 a fine of up to $10,000 and incarceration of up to eighteen months.
Tampering With an ID
N.J.S.2C:28-7 criminalizes as tampering with a public record any act where someone: “(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.” 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.
Other Potential Impacts for Fake ID Convictions
The above fake ID crimes carry other consequences for your Ocean County high school or college student. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1(e), committing any of the above fake ID crimes carries driver's license suspension for between six months and two years, once your student turns age seventeen. Community service is another possible criminal penalty. Beyond the criminal penalties, your student could face school suspension or even expulsion, depending on the circumstances of the crime, such as whether the activity involved a Lakewood High School or other Ocean County high school prom, an Ocean County College sporting event, or another school event or activity. And the consequences of any criminal conviction or school discipline can include loss of other educational, job, and career opportunities, and honors, awards, rights, and privileges.
Retain an Experienced New Jersey Fake ID Defense Attorney
No student should start life with a strike against the student. A criminal conviction, even for a fake ID crime, is no way to get a good start in life. Don't let your student face criminal charges or school discipline over fake ID without the skilled and experienced fake ID defense attorney representation your student needs for a successful defense. Aggressive representation from a premier attorney with substantial experience defending students from fake ID and other charges can make the difference that your student needs and deserves. Retain premier New Jersey fake ID defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm for the best available defense.