It's pretty common for high school or underage college students to use fake IDs to buy alcohol or get into a bar or club. But if you are the parent of one of these kids and they have been caught using their fake ID, you might be confused about what steps to take next. How will an arrest or conviction affect their future? Will it prevent them from getting into, or continuing in, college? Will they lose their scholarships? You are right to be worried, as there are so many variables when it comes to the criminal justice process.
If your child is in high school or college in the Camden County area, a fake ID defense attorney can help. It's important to remember that anytime a person is arrested or charged with a crime, they are innocent until proven guilty. A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to protect your child's rights every step of the way by gathering evidence, producing witnesses, and advocating on their behalf. Your child does not have to weather this storm alone. Call Attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help.
Fake ID Charges in Camden County
Some people think possessing a fake ID is not that big of a deal. Police have bigger fish to fry, right? Worst case scenario: your child will merely get a slap on the wrist. The reality is, in New Jersey, possessing a fake ID is an indictable offense and equivalent to felony-level charges in other states. Indictable crimes are considered extremely serious crimes that carry hefty penalties and prison sentences.
- Possessing a Fake ID in Camden County
In New Jersey it is illegal to have, hold, acquire, request, or keep a fake ID, including false birth certificates, or other false government issued IDs. If you are found to possess such a document, you can be charged with a fourth-degree indictable offense – the lowest level of indictable offenses in New Jersey, but still equal to a felony charge in other states and punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Using a Fake ID in Camden County
According to New Jersey law, it is illegal to display or exhibit a fake ID – or any other false government-issued ID (like a driver's license, birth certificate, or passport). While possessing a fake ID is a fourth-degree indictable offense, using the fake ID brings the charge up to a third-degree indictable offense, punishable between three to five years in prison and by up to a $15,000 fine.
If someone is caught using a fake ID and arrested after trying to purchase something that requires a particular legal purchasing age (like cannabis, tobacco, or alcohol), the police will usually charge them with a disorderly persons offense instead of the third-degree indictable offense. Disorderly persons offenses carry a similar punishment as a misdemeanor.
But, if they tried to use the fake ID to defraud someone in another way, and are caught, police will typically charge them with an indictable offense charge or multiple charges.
- Selling or Offering a Fake ID in Camden County
In Camden County, New Jersey, selling or offering a fake ID is also illegal and is considered a second-degree indictable offense. Second-degree indictable offenses are also similar to felony-level punishments in other states and carry punishments of between five to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Possessing Materials to Make a Fake ID in Camden County
If one “knowingly” makes a fake ID or has the materials or device to create a false ID, fake birth certificate, fake driver's license, or fake passport, they will be charged with a second-degree indictable offense and could be fined by up to $15,000 and punished with five to ten years in prison.
- Tampering with an Official ID in Camden County
When a person is found tampering with or trying to alter a birth certificate, passport, driver's license, or other government-issued ID, they could be charged with tampering with official ID. This charge is considered a third-degree indictable offense and carries with it a punishment of three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Juvenile Fake Identification Charges in Camden County
In general, if your child is under 18 when they are arrested for an incident with a fake ID, the police will only charge them with a disorderly persons offense, similar to a misdemeanor charge in other states. While this is a lesser charge than the more serious indictable ones listed above, it can still carry serious consequences in Camden County, including $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.
Do I Need an Attorney for Fake ID Charges?
Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as an investigation begins or charges are filed is the best way to ensure your child avoids a conviction. The police may file charges for several offenses at once, or with an indictable offense, to push them to plead guilty to at least one charge. An inexperienced attorney, or an overworked public defender, may encourage you to plead guilty or agree to a plea deal to ensure they are not convicted of too many offenses at once.
Expunging Fake ID Charges in Camden County
Trying to help your child avoid a criminal conviction for a fake ID charge can sometimes be harder than expected. Attorney Lento and his team will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case, but your child may still have to deal with a criminal record afterwards. In New Jersey, there are certain laws that will allow your child to repair their criminal record, ensuring their future prospects are still possible. Expungement is one way for the court to seal your child's arrest and criminal records from public view, making it as if the arrest never happened.
In New Jersey, the expungement rule can be broken down as such:
- It is the removal, sealing, confiscation, or separation
- Of all records on file
- Within any
- Detention or correctional facility
- Law enforcement or criminal justice agency
- Regarding a person's
- Trial or disposition
- Of any offense within the criminal justice system
The state may expunge the following records:
- Processing records
- Index cards
- “Rap sheets”
- Judicial docket records
It is important to note that the expungement process is can still be quite lengthy and filled with intense paperwork. Attorney Lento will be able to help you navigate the nuances of such paperwork so that the experience is much faster and efficient.
Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses in Camden County
Children who do not have a prior criminal history, tend to be able to expunge up to five disorderly persons offenses, including a petty disorderly persons offense. To do so, they will have to wait five years after paying their fines and completing their sentence or supervision.
If your child has a indictable offense conviction, they will only be able to expunge three disorderly persons offenses using the regular expungement process. But Camden County, New Jersey law now includes another “early” process to expungement, which only requires your child to wait three years after completing their sentence to attempt expungement.
New Jersey's New Clean Slate Law
Recently, New Jersey instated a “clean slate” law, which allows qualified individuals to completely expunge their entire criminal and arrest record at one time ten years after paying their fines and finishing their sentence. If your child didn't previously qualify for expungement because they had multiple indictable offenses or a past expungement, this process may now allow them to expunge their records.
Expunging Juvenile Offenses in Camden County
Defendants who were arrested and charged with a fake ID offense while they were still under the age of 18, may be able to expunge their juvenile records. New Jersey allows most juvenile records to be expunged – unless the convictions were for serious crimes, like murder or rape. If it has been three years since your child completed their sentence or supervision, they may be eligible to have their records expunged.
An expungement in Camden County, New Jersey will not completely destroy your child's arrest or criminal records. They will be sealed by the court so that they are not accessible by the public, but they will still exist. This is because law enforcement agencies, like the New Jersey State Police and the FBI may still need access to them if your child were to apply to a job there later. Having an attorney defend your child from their potential conviction is still the best option to ensure no criminal or arrest record exists at all.
Hire an Experienced Camden County Defense Attorney
If you have a child at Camden County College, Rutgers University, or Rowan University, or a high school student at Collingswood High School, Camden High School, or Overbrook High School, it is important to take their fake ID charges seriously whether they are facing a disorderly persons charge or an indictable offense charge, either can have serious long-term consequences for your child.
At Lento Law Firm, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team have years of experience helping students in similar situations. They will help guide them through the Camden County criminal justice system, fighting on their behalf every step of the way. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.