Possession and/or Presentment of a Fake-ID
BP §25661 | VC §14601 | PC §470b
If you or someone you care about is being investigated for, cited for, or has been charged with violating laws related to possessing a Fake-ID, there are likely multiple violations included against you.
What makes ‘Fake-ID’ cases detrimental on multiple levels is that, the defendant usually violates multiple crimes during one/the same act. Usually the person 1) “possessed” the Fake-ID, but that’s not what got him/her caught, it was 2) the ‘use’ and “presenting” the Fake-ID that led to the person being caught.
Therefore, a “Fake-ID” event usually leads to the person violating one or more Penal Codes (PC), Business and Professional Codes (BP) and/or California Vehicle Codes (VC) related to the possession and/or presentment of a Fake or False ID.
If one or more charges related to Fake-ID have been alleged against you, time is not on your side. Every second that passes is vital. The reason being, that although ‘you’ have other areas of your life to worry about and tend to, other than this (school, work, paying rent, etc.), the Prosecuting agency has 1 area to focus on… building the strongest case against you in order to win the case against you and ‘get the conviction’.
Likely, the Prosecutor’s Office has already engaged their professional team to begin building their case against you. And, depending on when you’re reading this, they could be working their case against you as you’re reviewing this information. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after learning about these charges.
Areas of Exposure
If you are in this predicament you have multiple areas of exposure. In short, conviction of the Penal and/or Business and Profession Codes will appear on your criminal record history in background checks and may be viewed as a form of “fraud” by potential employers (i.e. – possessing, presenting or creating false documents… and ‘government’ documents no less). The conviction of the California Vehicle Code offense is what may get your license suspended.
The charges that usually get alleged (included on your Misdemeanor Ticket) are:
A few things to consider:
Different types of Fake-IDs
1) There are 2 types of fake IDs. Either the ID was real but belonged to someone else and you (the Defendant) were using it, or, the ID was completely false in that it had your information on it but the information was falsely edited or created to represent you. There are potential pitfalls to either.
The prosecution may come down harder on a person using an ID that was created or altered (vs a correct and lawful ID that merely doesn’t belong to the person who was caught). The logic being that the prosecution may want to put those people that make fake-IDs, out of business by making a prosecutorial example out of you, so that others will stay away from those people that make fake IDs, to basically starve them and make them discontinue running their illegal fake-ID making business.
Possible Identity Theft issues:
However, when a person gets caught using someone else’s ‘real’ ID, the prosecution may see this as a form of Identity Theft and may want to make a prosecutorial example out of you to not only deter you from ever trying to use someone else’s identity, but deter others as well who see how tough the process was on you. The prosecution may contact the person who the ID belonged to, to investigate. That other person may now be under investigation for being a co-conspirator; contributing to the delinquency of a minor; aiding and abetting, or unlawfully lending their ID to another to commit a crime. If that other person gets nervous and (basically) throws you under the bus by saying you must have stolen the ID from them, the prosecution may include Identity Theft to your list of charges.
To make matters worse, depending on the age of the person caught using a fake-ID, the person may have their own license suspended for 1 full year.
Possession of a Fake ID involves possessing and using a fake ID with the intent that the ID be considered legitimate.
In the State of California, Possession of a Fake ID is governed by Business & Professions Code §25661, which states:
Any person under the age of 21 years who presents or offers to any licensee, his or her agent or employee, any written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity which is false, fraudulent or not actually his or her own for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, attempting to purchase or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure, the serving of any alcoholic beverage, or who has in his or her possession any false or fraudulent written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity, is guilty of a misdemeanor. BP§25661
To make matters worse, the California Vehicle Code (§14610(a)) also has a law making it unlawful for any person:
(1) To display or cause or permit to be displayed or have in his possession any canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious, fraudulently altered, or fraudulently obtained driver’s license.
(2) To lend his driver’s license to any other person or knowingly permit the use thereof by another.
(3) To display or represent any driver’s license not issued to him as being his license.
(4) To fail or refuse to surrender to the department upon its lawful demand any driver’s license which has been suspended, revoked or canceled.
(5) To permit any unlawful use of a driver’s license issued to him.
(6) To do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required by this division.
(7) To photograph, photostat, duplicate, or in any way reproduce any driver’s license or facsimile thereof in such a manner that it could be mistaken for a valid license, or to display or have in his possession any such photograph, photostat, duplicate, reproduction, or facsimile unless authorized by the provisions of this code.
(8) To alter any driver’s license in any manner not authorized by this code.
(b) For purposes of this section, “driver’s license” includes a temporary permit to operate a motor vehicle (i.e. – temporary license). VC §14610(a)
If the person is under the age of 21 and found guilty of violating BP§25661, VC §14610(a), under California Vehicle Code 13202.5 it is MANDATORY that the Judge suspend the person’s actual license for 1 year.
Additionally, California Vehicle Code (§14610(a)) states:
Every person who alters, falsifies, forges, duplicates or in any manner reproduces or counterfeits any driver’s license or identification card issued by a governmental agency with the intent that such driver’s license or identification card be used to facilitate the commission of any forgery, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
In law, every charge carries with it a set of “elements” that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the elements must be proven (beyond a reasonable doubt) in order to convict someone of a given crime.
The 4 elements to Possession of a Fake ID in California are:
Our office is experienced at finding which elements the prosecution cannot meet, or which elements are weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and may keep the prosecution from being able to prove you guilty of Possession of a Fake ID under California law.
California considers Possession of a Fake ID to be a “wobbler:” a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the severity and the opinions of the judge. As you can imagine, the more serious the charge, the more serious the penalties you could face.
For Misdemeanors – penalties and negative repercussions include:
The sooner you call our office the sooner we can hear the truth about what took place. Depending on the facts of the situation, and whether you’ve called our office soon enough, we may be able to take the facts you share with us and meet with the prosecuting agency (City Attorney or District Attorney) to keep charges from being formally filed against you.
If charges have already been filed against you, our office is experienced at going through all of the evidence line-by-line to find discrepancies and discover all possible defenses for your case. As with all criminal cases, most defenses target at least one of the elements stated above. Examples of defenses in a Possession of a Fake ID case that we may be able to find in your favor include (but are not limited to):
Each case is unique and may be better suited to one particular defense over another. Always speak to an attorney about all of your options when deciding the defense(s) that may be best for you. Call the Law Office of James L. Hassey today at (858) 373-8201 for your FREE consultation.