When you are under 21 years old, all you think about is the new privileges you will receive when you become “of age.” Some teenagers, may refuse to wait for that day and instead opt to buy a fake ID. In movies, if students are caught with fake IDs, they are simply given a slap on the wrist and the fake ID is confiscated. But real life is way different than the movies and students found possessing fake IDs will be arrested and charged with an indictable offense.
Indictable offenses are serious and could derail your child's entire future. If they are already in college, they could be expelled, or it could prevent them from pursuing certain careers or graduate school. And if they are not in college yet, an indictable offense like this could push colleges to revoke their admission. With all of that on the line, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure these consequences are mitigated as much as they can be. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm can help. Call our offices today.
Fake ID Charges in Atlantic County
Typically, we believe the notion that using a fake ID isn't really that big of a deal, but actually fake ID offenses are indictable offenses, similar to a felony level sentence in other states.
- Possessing a Fake ID in Atlantic County
In New Jersey, it is incredibly illegal to possess a fake ID. Fake IDs can be anything from an identification card or driver's license to a passport, birth certificate, or other government-issued ID. Possessing a fake ID is a fourth-level indictable offense, which is the lowest level of indictable offenses, and punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.
- Using Fake Identification in Atlantic County
It is also illegal to use a fake ID, including birth certificates, passports, driver's licenses, etc. Using a fake ID is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to a $15,000 fine and three to five years in prison.
While charges for possessing and using a fake ID in Atlantic County are indictable offenses, police officers will usually only charge your child with a disorderly persons offense, similar to a misdemeanor in other states, if they are caught trying to buy alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis, or something else they wouldn't normally be able to buy until they were 21 years old, and they haven't use their fake ID in fraudulent way before.
- Selling or Offering a Fake ID in Atlantic County
If your child is caught selling or offering a fake ID, or possessing a fake ID with the intent to sell, in Atlantic County, they will be charged with a second-degree indictable offense, up to $15,000 in fines, and five to ten years in prison.
- Possessing Materials to Make a Fake ID in Atlantic County
According to New Jersey law, your child can also be subject to criminal arrest for knowingly making a false ID or possessing any device or materials to make one. Creating a fake ID is a second-degree indictable offense, similar to a second-degree felony in other states, and punishable by up to a $15,000 fine and five to ten years in prison.
- Tampering with an Official ID in Atlantic County
In Atlantic County, and New Jersey on the whole, it is illegal to try to alter a real government-issued ID. For instance, your child can be arrested for trying to alter the name, age, or address on a driver's license. This is considered a third-degree indictable offense, and punishable by up to $15,000 in fines and three to five years in prison.
Juvenile Fake Identification Charges in Atlantic County
Usually, if your child is under the age of 18 when they are arrested, the police will probably charge them with a disorderly persons offense for attempting to use or possessing a fake ID. But it is important to remember that disorder persons offenses can still carry serious consequences in Atlantic County, New Jersey, including about $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.
Do I Need an Attorney for Fake ID Charges?
Hiring an attorney is the best way for your child to avoid a conviction for a for using, possessing, or making a fake ID. Unfortunately, the police may try to force your child to plead guilty to an offense by charging them with multiple fake ID offenses at once. Additionally, if you do not choose to hire your own attorney, your child may be given a public defender. Public defenders tend to work long hours and operate several dozen cases at a time. If your child is facing a conviction, it is imperative that they have an attorney on their side who is solely focused on their case. Don't let your child fall through the gaps in the criminal justice system. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help.
Expunging Fake ID Charges in Atlantic County
Sometimes, even if you work hard to ensure your child is not convicted of a fake ID offense, you will still have to deal with a criminal record afterwards. In New Jersey, defendants are lucky because the state offers options to have their criminal and arrest records sealed, ensuring their future prospects are still intact. For children that qualify, you can contest the court to seal their arrest and criminal records from public view – meaning they won't have to report it on college applications, job applications, etc. – it's as if it never existed.
In New Jersey, an expungement is considered the isolation, extraction, and sealing of all records within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency, regarding certain aspects of a criminal record, including, but not limited to, a person's arrest, detention, or trial.
New Jersey courts may issue expungements for the following records:
- Rap sheets
- Index cards
- Processing records
- Judicial docket records
The expungement process is still an intense, and lengthy, process. Working with an attorney will ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently.
Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses in Atlantic County
Under New Jersey's traditional expungement process, individuals who don't have an additional criminal history, can expunge up to five disorderly persons offenses, including petty disorderly persons offenses. If they have other items on their criminal records, they will only be able to expunge three disorderly persons offenses. Generally, your child will have to wait five years after completely their sentence or supervision and paying all their fines before applying for expungement of their record. Though, New Jersey has recently adopted an earlier pathway to expungement that, for qualified individuals, would allow them to apply three years after completing their sentence.
New Jersey's New Clean Slate Law
Recently, New Jersey has passed a “clean slate law,” which allows certain individuals to expunge their whole criminal and arrest record in one go if they are ten years out from completing their sentence and paying their fines. If your child's records didn't qualify for expungement before, because of multiple indictable offenses or a prior expungement, they may qualify under this new law.
Expunging Juvenile Offenses in Atlantic County
Fortunately, New Jersey law allows most juvenile convictions to be expunged, save for serious crimes like rape or murder. If your child was convicted of a fake ID offense while they were under 18, and thus has a juvenile record, they may be able to expunge it if they are at least three years out from having completed their sentence or supervision.
It is important to remember that in New Jersey, expungements do not completely destroy the criminal or arrest records. Instead, the records are sealed from public view. The only individuals who have access to them after that point are law enforcement agencies, like the New Jersey State Police and the FBI. So, the best option for your child's future is still to hire an attorney to create a strategic defense and fight on their behalf.
Hire an Experienced Atlantic County Defense Attorney
If your child attends Atlantic Cape Community College or Stockton University, or Atlantic City High School, and is facing fake ID charges, it is important to work with an attorney and take the matter seriously. Even a disorderly persons conviction can have serious ramifications on their future education and careers.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping students avoid fake ID charges. They will work diligently to ensure your child does not face any unnecessary negative consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consult online. They can help!