Being arrested for using a fake ID to get into a club or purchase alcohol or tobacco can be an incredibly jarring experience. In the movies, kids with fake IDs are simply given a slap on the wrist, their fake ID destroyed, and then they are sent on their way. Police are presented as understanding and accommodating, chalking the kids' actions up to being rambunctious teenagers just trying to have fun.
In reality, if your child is found possessing, or trying to use, a fake ID, by police, they will be charged with an indictable offense, similar to a felony charge in other states, and could face serious long-term consequences, ranging from jail time and fines to loss of college admission, expulsion, or suspension. If your child is already in college at the time of the arrest, it could potentially affect their future career, professional licensing, and graduate school admissions. This is particularly true if your child hopes to become a lawyer one day. Law schools are especially stringent in their admission requirements and students are often turned away for criminal arrest records or convictions.
Working with a criminal attorney from the moment your child is arrested for possessing or using a fake ID, will ensure the best possible outcome for your case. In this article, we will discuss some of the frequently asked questions our clients have about fake ID charges, criminal records, and how to diminish the potential negative consequences.
Fake ID Charges in Burlington County
We tend to think that getting caught with a fake ID is no big deal and shouldn't be considered an indictable offense. But, in truth, possessing or using a fake ID – even if it isn't yours, will incur an indictable offense charge.
- Possessing a Fake ID in Burlington County
According to current New Jersey law, it is illegal to possess a fake ID, including fake driver's licenses, birth certificates, passports, or other government-issued IDs. “Possession” is considered to include having, holding, or retaining the fake ID. So even if you did not ask for the fake ID, and you have not used it, but it is found in your possession, you will be subject to arrest and criminal charges.
Possession of a fake ID is fourth-degree indictable offense, which is the lowest level of indictable offenses in New Jersey, but it is still subject to a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.
- Using Fake Identification in Burlington County
In addition to possession, it is also illegal to use a fake ID in Burlington County. Again, a “fake ID” can be anything from an identification card, drivers license or passport, to any other government-issued ID, like a birth certificate. Displaying, exhibiting, or otherwise using a fake ID is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable up to a $15,000 fine and three to five years in prison.
Generally, police won't charge your child with an indictable offense if they are under 18 when they are caught using a fake ID trying to buy alcohol, cannabis, or tobacco. Instead they will change them with a disorderly persons offense, similar to a misdemeanor charge. That is, of course, unless they've used the fake ID prior to engage in another fraud.
- Selling or Offering a Fake ID in Burlington County
In New Jersey, it is illegal to knowingly offer to sell, transfer, or possess a fake ID with the intent to sell. Selling a fake ID and offering a fake ID are both second-degree indictable offenses, punishable with up to a $15,000 fine and five to ten years in prison.
- Possessing Materials to Make a Fake ID in Burlington County
In Burlington County, New Jersey, if you knowingly make a fake ID or possess any devices or materials to make a fake ID, like a drivers' license, birth certificate, or passport, it is considered a second-degree indictable offense, similar to a second-degree felony offense in other states. A charge like this would bring with it a fine of up to $15,000 and five to ten years in prison.
- Tampering with an Official ID in Burlington County
If your child is caught tampering with, or altering, an authentic document or record, in Burlington County, it is a third-degree indictable offense, a felony-level charge in other states, that is punishable with a fine up to $15,000 and three to five years in prison. Your child could be charged with this offense if they are caught trying to change the name, age, or other information on a real New Jersey driver's license.
Juvenile Fake Identification Charges in Burlington County
In New Jersey, the police tend to charge juveniles (children under the age of 18) with a disorderly persons offense for attempting to use or possessing a fake ID. But, a disorderly persons offense is still serious offense in New Jersey and could include a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Do I Need an Attorney for Fake ID Charges?
Fake ID charges may seem like they are simple to argue away, but they really are filled with tons of legal nuances. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to gather evidence and witnesses to plead your child's case more effectively than if you were to utilize a tired personal defender or attempt to represent your child yourself. Additionally, the police may try to charge your child with multiple fake ID offenses in an attempt to get them to plead guilty to at least one. If you want to prevent your child from being strong-armed in such a way by the police of prosecution in Burlington County, retain the skilled team at Lento Law Firm. We will protect their rights fervently.
Expunging Fake ID Charges in Burlington County
No matter how hard you work to protect your child from a fake ID charge, sometimes you still have to deal with the consequences of a criminal record. In New Jersey, arrestees are lucky to have a few options to clean up their criminal record and ensure their future possibilities are not infringed on. If your child qualifies for an expungement, they may be able to gain a court order to have their arrest and criminal records sealed from public view.
An expungement in New Jersey is considered an extraction and sealing of all records within a court, detention, or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency that discusses a person's arrest, detention, trial or any other detection, apprehension, or disposition within the criminal justice system.
The following records can be expunged by New Jersey court order:
- Processing records
- Index cards
- Rap sheets
- Judicial docket records
It is important to note that the expungement process is still quite lengthy and paperwork intense. Working with an attorney will not only take the burden off your shoulders, but also ensure that there are no errors, making the judicial process quicker and more efficient for your child.
Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses in Burlington County
In general, if your child does not have a further criminal history, they will probably be able to expunge up to five disorderly persons offenses, but if they have other offenses on their criminal record, they will be limited to just three disorderly persons offenses. On the traditional New Jersey expungement route, your child will have to wait five years after having completed their sentence or supervision and paying their fines before they can file a request for expungement.
Recently, New Jersey law added an early pathway to expungement option, which allows your child to wait just three years after completing their sentence before filing for expungement.
New Jersey's New Clean Slate Law
The newest New Jersey law, called the “Clean Slate Law” allows some people to expunge their entire criminal and arrest record at once, if they are ten years out from having completed their sentence and paying their fines. If your child has other records that didn't previously qualify for expungement, they may now.
Expunging Juvenile Offenses in Burlington County
If your child was convicted of a fake ID offense when they were under 18, as a juvenile, they may be able to expunge these records as well. New Jersey allows most juvenile convictions to be expunged, save for serious convictions like murder or rape. If your child qualifies for expungement, they may seek it three years after completing their sentence or supervision.
Now, in New Jersey, an expungement is the sealing of arrest of criminal records so that the public cannot look them up. The records still live on in the New Jersey Police database and the FBI database, so that if your child applies for employment in those law enforcement agencies, they will have access to the record. The best option is still to fight the original arrest for the fake ID offense to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
Hire an Experienced Burlington County Defense Attorney
If you have a college student at Rowan University or Burlington Community College, or a high school student at Burlington Township High School, and they have been charged with a fake ID offense, working with an attorney from the moment you learn of the arrest is incredibly important. Even if your child has only been charged with a disorderly persons offense it can affect their long term educational and career goals.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have spent years helping students in the same situations as your child. They have the fighting attitude and experience to mitigate any negative consequences your child might experience. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.