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Every year, thousands of underage Illinois youths use fake identification to get their hands on alcohol or cigarettes. Whether borrowed from an older friend or purchased from a shady online business, fake IDs are common among high school and college students. Many of them are probably unaware of the severe criminal penalties they will face if they get caught. From fines and possible jail time to expulsion from school, it’s never worth the risk to use a fake driver’s license to purchase alcohol.
If you are caught using a fake ID, you need the legal assistance of an experienced Chicago underage and student crimes attorney. Michael O’Meara understands the charges against you and will work to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706.
Fake IDs Are Easy to Spot
Your fake ID may look good, but an expert can probably spot it as a fake in a matter of seconds. Illinois driver’s licenses feature a dozen or more security markers that make them virtually impossible to reproduce accurately. Members of the Illinois State Police regularly travel across the state to train bar, restaurant, and liquor store employees on how to spot fake IDs. With many establishments using black lights or laser pens to weed out fake IDs, you’re taking a big risk if you attempt to use a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes.
Penalties for Using a Fake ID
Several state laws and local ordinances apply to the use and possession of fake IDs. A violation of a city ordinance involves a fine only, but violating state laws may result in fines, jail time, and community service. No matter what law the prosecutor decides to charge you under, the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke your driver’s license for violating fake ID laws.
Fake ID violations can be divided as follows:
- Class A misdemeanor (Up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 in fines) – This penalty applies if you use someone else’s driver’s license or allow someone else to use yours. The same penalty applies if you possess a driver’s license issued by the Secretary of State that has false information in it, which is defined as a so-called fictitious driver’s license.
- Class 4 felony (1 to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines) – This is the penalty for using or possessing a fraudulent driver’s license, which means that someone else besides the Secretary of State created it. This penalty may also apply if you use a fictitious driver’s license with fraudulent intent, or if you possess any other altered or fraudulent government-issued ID.
In addition to the penalties listed above, you may also have to complete community service. In the future, you may have trouble applying for schools or jobs because your misdemeanor or felony convictions will figure on your publicly available criminal record.
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Depending on your high school, college, or university’s policies, you may face sanctions from your school’s disciplinary board if you get charged with a crime. The penalty may range from a temporary suspension to expulsion. In short, getting caught with a fake ID can turn your life upside down. One minute, you are trying to blow off steam with friends, and the next, you are facing the prospect of jail time, fines, and severely limited educational and employment opportunities.
Fortunately, you may be able to avoid some or all of the consequences of a fake ID charge if you act fast and retain the services of a reputable Chicago criminal attorney. Do not plead guilty to your charges before talking with an attorney. There may be several defense strategies available to you.
To find out more, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.