Most college students spend their time studying, worrying about the future, and trying to make friends. They rarely consider the ramifications of their actions. Colleges and universities provide students with student handbooks at the beginning of each year. The student handbook outlines the specific expectations the administration expects their students to abide by and the policies and procedures they will follow if a student violates those expectations. If a student is accused of possessing, buying, or distributing a fake ID, they will be penalized, both by their college administration and local law enforcement.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team are practiced in student defense and appreciate how multifaceted these types of allegations can be. It is important to present a strong defense at both your disciplinary action and your criminal hearing. Call Lento Law Firm today.
Crime Detection on New Jersey Campuses
College campuses are committed to protecting students their students, staff, and visitors from becoming victims of a crime. As such, New Jersey campuses are covered in blue light emergency phones, security cameras, and campus security or university police who patrol the grounds around the clock. If a student has been accused of possessing, buying, or distributing fake IDs, there is a good chance it was caught by campus security, whether because of another student, on video footage, or in the act by the security or police personnel themselves.
When this happens, the university has every right to share the accusations and evidence with local law enforcement. Alternatively, if local law enforcement is notified of the incident first, they have the right to inform the university of the allegations. The university may decide to adjudicate the student based on that notification.
The university, police force, and prosecution all owe you a certain level of due process. Working with a student defense attorney from the moment you learn of these accusations to ensure your due process rights are upheld.
New Jersey Fake ID Crimes
Using a fake ID might seem like a harmless crime, romanticized even. But being caught possessing, displaying, creating, or selling a fake ID actually carries some pretty lofty consequences.
Possessing or Displaying a Fake ID
In New Jersey, it is illegal to utter, display, or present, a document that deceitfully depicts a driver's license, birth certificate, or another official document that can falsify your age and other personal identification information. A fake ID conviction is considered a third-degree crime and is punished by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.
Further, it isn't just illegal to use a fake ID, it is illegal to just have one in your possession. Possession of a fake ID, even if you don't use it, is considered a fourth-degree crime and carries with it a penalty of up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Making and Selling a Fake ID
In addition to being illegal to possess or display a Fake ID, it is illegal to make or sell a Fake ID to someone you know is going to use it to lie about their personal identification information. If you are caught making 50 or more fake IDs or ten or more fake IDs using the personal information of five or more different people, you could be convicted of a second-degree crime.
Alternatively, if you are found guilty of making 20 or more fake IDs or five or more fake IDS containing different personal information, it is considered a third-degree crime. Most often, though, these charges end up being considered fourth-degree crimes.
Whether you are charged with making and selling a fake ID or simply possession or exhibition of a fake ID, you need a skilled student defense attorney to help you navigate the subsequent procedures. Attorney Lento will be able to mitigate any unnecessary, superfluous charges you might experience.
Fake IDs on New Jersey College Campuses
Most colleges and universities have similar ways of resolving allegations surrounding fake IDs, including that the matter should be investigated, the accused student interviewed, and penalties dispensed for the behavior.
At Seton Hall University, students are expected to follow the rules and regulations outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. The conduct code states that acts of dishonesty include forging, altering, or misusing university documents, records, or other credentials that prove identification. If a student is accused of committing such an act of dishonesty, they will be referred for disciplinary action, which usually includes punishments such as probation, loss of privileges, suspension, or expulsion.
And at The College of New Jersey, their Student Conduct Code states that personal integrity transgressions will be settled with disciplinary actions and a prescribed sanction. Examples of personal integrity transgressions include:
- Falsifying an official College ID card, record, or document
- Helping falsify an official College ID card, record, or document.
- Possessing, using, manufacturing, or selling falsified ID cards, documents, or records.
Being accused of a fake ID violation is more problematic than you might think. Not only does it signify to the world that you are untrustworthy, but it also indicates there might be more significant problematic behavior at play.
For instance, individuals who use fake IDs in the “common” way are trying to get into bars or purchase alcohol more easily. But what happens when fake IDs are made so well that they pass as real IDs? What's to stop a student from sitting in to take a test for another student using a fake ID? These are the questions your administration might ask themselves, which would have a significant impact on your reputation on campus.
Working with a student defense attorney is key to mitigating this type of reputational harm. Attorney Lento can speak to your college administration on your behalf and explain the true circumstances that caused this student conduct transgression.
Defending New Jersey Fake ID Charges
Criminal convictions for fake IDs can have long-term consequences outside of jail or prison sentences and fines, including having a hard time finding a job or getting accepted to college in the future. A student defense attorney can help lessen these negative effects by building a strong defense on your behalf.
In the United States, there are different kinds of burden of proof that the prosecution or defense must provide in order to win their case. For instance, in cases where the plaintiff is arguing that the there is fraud in a will, they have the burden of proving that the evidence clearly and convincingly supports that argument. That is, the evidence presented must make the court believe or feel that their argument is true (i.e., the evidence is much more likely to be true than untrue).
To counter this argument, the defense would need to reasons and evidence for what the prosecutions argument is incorrect (i.e., make the court see that the evidence the prosecution presented is less likely to be true).
Now, in criminal cases, the burden of proof on the prosecution is "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is much higher than "clear and convincing evidence." This legal burden of proof requires that the prosecution, in order to prove the defendant's guilt, convince the court that there is no reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence presented at trial other than the argument they are making.
To undermine this argument, the defense team needs to be able to poke holes in the prosecution's argument enough to make the court consider other explanations for the evidence.
Alternatively, if the defense is putting forth an affirmative defense, the burden of proof will be on them to prove their argument is the only possible explanation for the evidence. Affirmative defenses are defenses where the defendant presents evidence that will invalidate their liability even if the prosecution can prove the defendant committed the alleged act.
If you are charged with a fake ID criminal offense, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you possessed, displayed, sold, or made a fake ID. Attorney Lento is a particularly well-informed criminal defense attorney who is adept at finding the gaps in the prosecution's argument and utilizing evidence to show alternative explanations. Call Lento Law Firm today.
New Jersey Campus Fake ID Disciplinary Procedures
In the United States, colleges and universities are constantly worrying about their reputation and the examples they are setting for their students. As such, even if you are found innocent of a criminal fake ID offense, or your case is dismissed, your school will still need to adjudicate the issue. Additionally, your university may decide to use your case as an example to deter other students from committing similar acts. If this happens, you could be punished more severely than necessary. Working with Attorney Lento will ensure your college or university not only upholds your due process rights to a fair hearing free from bias, but does not punish you unnecessarily for the alleged conduct.
Schools in New Jersey follow specific standards for settling fake ID allegations. At Rider University, all misconduct allegations carry their own specific sanctioning guidelines. The Community Standards Board will notify students of the allegations and their due process rights for the hearing. During this hearing, the student will have an opportunity to present their defense, along with any evidence and witnesses they might have. They will also have a chance to confront the university's witnesses and evidence. If a student is not present during their proceeding, the matter cannot be adjudicated unless the student signed a waiver of the right to be present.
Once the Community Standards Board has heard both sides, they will review the evidence and determine whether the student is responsible for possessing, selling, displaying, or making fake IDs. If they are found responsible, the student will be subjected to sanctions, the severity of which will depend on the “level” that incident falls under.
Rider University has five violation levels.
- Level 5: the offense accused is not that serious, and if found responsible, the student will receive a general warning in their file and/or community, other assigned tasks, or financial restitution of no more than $25.
- Level 4: the sanctions imposed include social restrictions, loss of privileges for a certain period, a warning to the student about future violations, and a fine of between $20 and $50.
- Level 3: the student can have their on-campus housing terminated or altered, or they might be restricted from certain areas of campus. Additionally, they could be fined between $35 and $100.
- Level 2: if a student is accused of a fake ID offense that falls under “level 2,” they could be dismissed from the university for up to a year, have their on-campus housing terminated, or have their access to campus greatly limited. They might also be responsible for paying a $75 to $200 fee to the university.
- Level 1: the offense is extremely serious if it falls under a “level 1” violation. As such, students can be expelled indefinitely and permanently or dismissed for at least one year.
Other sanctions for charges concerning fake IDs might include community restitution, campus restrictions, social restrictions, mandatory enrollment in the alcohol education program on campus, and referral to counseling.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a highly experienced and qualified attorney with unparalleled proficiency. They have helped students all around Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey defend themselves against both the criminal and on-campus charges they are facing. Possessing, displaying, selling, or making a fake ID is a serious offense that can negatively impact your future. Attorney Lento will work diligently to ensure you do experience any unnecessary ramifications. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today or visit us online.