Property CrimesTypes of Felonies

Fake ID Penalties: What If You Get Caught?

With a legitimate identification card, usually a driver’s license or a state ID, you have access to any number of adult privileges, such as buying adult substances, renting an apartment, and cashing a check. While IDs continue to evolve and add new elements to stave off counterfeiters, modern technology has allowed criminals to continue to create high-quality forgeries using photo editing software and premium printers.

But what if you get caught using a fake ID? Can you go to jail? When punished at its highest level, using a fake ID can send you to jail, but most likely, not on the first offense. States have recently been tightening their fake ID laws, and the laws govern a variety of activities. In some states, using a fake ID can be considered a felony that comes with a minimum of a one-year jail sentence.

What Is a Fake ID?

Something can be considered a fake ID any time you use a false form of identification. The fake ID could be either a forgery of an ID, alteration of a legitimate ID, or an ID obtained from another person.

Fake ID Laws by State

Fake ID penalties can range from as little as a small fine to as large as a felony offense and jail time. Below are the U.S. fake ID laws by state.

Alabama

Using a fake ID in Alabama is considered a Class B felony. A fake ID can be considered using someone else’s identification or forging/altering an ID. When punished to the highest order, using a fake ID in Alabama can result in up to six months in jail and a fine that can reach $1,000.

Alaska

In Alaska, using a fake ID to buy alcohol or gain entry to a bar will result in the minimum punishment of having your driver’s license revoked for 60 days. A second offense will result in your license being suspended for one year. However, if you are using a fake ID to commit any other crime, you can be charged with first-degree forgery, which is a Class B felony in Alaska. If you are convicted, you can face up to ten years in jail and a fine that can reach $100,000.

Arizona

Arizona is generally lenient about using a fake ID—as long as you are willing to come clean once caught. If a bar suspects a fake ID is being used, you will be asked to leave. If you challenge the bar, the police are called. If you confess to the police, you will receive a ticket. But if you continue with the deception, the police can arrest you for using a fake ID and lying to the police. You may have to spend the night in jail.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, if a bartender suspects that you have a fake ID, they can detain you and wait for the police to come. If guilty, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and will lose your driver’s license for 30 days.

California

California gives prosecutors the option of whether to charge fake ID usage with a misdemeanor or a felony. The resulting sentence could range from as little as probation to a maximum of three years in state prison.

Colorado

In Colorado, a fake ID is considered any altered or forged identification card. The charges for using a fake ID are misdemeanors in Colorado but can include up to 90 days in prison and a fine that can reach $1,000. Charges and sentencing for using a fake ID in Colorado are determined mainly on the offender’s previous criminal history.

Connecticut

The polar opposite of lenient states such as Arkansas and Arizona, Connecticut has a much harsher view of using a fake ID. If you are caught forging an identification or using someone else’s ID, you can be charged with a Class D felony for forgery in the second degree. This charge can be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine that can reach $5,000.

Delaware

Using a fake ID in Delaware can result in a jail sentence and a fine. A first offense will result in a fine of $100 to $500. Subsequent offenses can result in fines between $500 and $1,000, as well as 30 days in prison if you falsify statements to the police. Future offenses can result in up to 60 days in jail.

Florida

The laws in Florida for fake IDs are among the harshest in the country. In Florida, a fake ID is considered any stolen, forged, or counterfeit identification card. At worst, you could be looking at a third-degree felony, up to 15 years in prison and a fine that can reach $10,000. You may also be at risk of losing your driver’s license for up to a year, and the charge cannot be expunged from your permanent record.

Georgia

In Georgia, a fake ID offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor. But if you falsify and distribute a government document, you may be charged with a felony. You may also be charged with a felony if using a fake ID to purchase a gun. Finally, you may also be facing fraud charges if caught using a fake ID in Georgia.

Hawaii

Hawaii does not mess around when it comes to fake ID laws. If you are caught using a falsified ID in Hawaii, you may be charged with a Class C felony. This can result in a jail sentence of up to ten years and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

Idaho

Idaho views fake ID usage as a misdemeanor crime with a maximum fine of $1,000 on the first offense. On your second conviction, you will be fined up to $2,000 and could be sentenced to 30 days in prison. If you are convicted a third time, the fine can reach $3,000 and a jail sentence of 60 days.

Illinois

In Illinois, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for lending your ID to a friend or for using someone else’s ID. This penalty comes with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If you attempt to forge a driver’s license or state ID, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which can be punished by up to three years in jail and a fine that can reach $25,000.

Indiana

Indiana considers fake ID usage to be a misdemeanor, ranging from Class C to Class A. The penalty you face in Indiana for using a fake ID is the suspension of your license for up to one year and a fine that can reach $500.

Iowa

Iowa has recently increased its fake ID penalties to prevent serious crimes such as bank fraud and credit card fraud. Anyone who alters or forges an identification card can be charged with a Class D felony. The penalty can range from a jail sentence between 30 days and five years, along with a fine that ranges from $750 to $7,500.

Kansas

Kansas law punishes fake ID usage for those over 18 years old with a fine of $300 to $2,500, along with potentially up to a year in jail and as many as 100 hours of community service.

Kentucky

Using a fake ID in Kentucky can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony. Criminal possession of a forged instrument is a Class D felony in Kentucky and comes with a penalty of up to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. The more likely charge is violating the Kentucky Traffic Code for Prohibited Uses of Driver’s Licenses, which is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of 90 days in prison and a $250 fine.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, the penalties for using a fake ID include a fine of up to $200, a maximum of 36 hours of community service, and a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license.

Maine

A minor using a fake ID in Maine faces a fine between $200 and $400. But supplying a minor with alcohol can result in a fine up to $2,000 and one year in jail.

Maryland

It is a misdemeanor to possess or use a fake ID in Maryland. This offense is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $500. Selling a fake ID would result in up to two years in jail and a fine that can reach $2,000.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, using a fake ID can result in up to three months in prison, a fine of $200, and a one-year suspension of your license.

Michigan

Using or possessing a fake ID in Michigan is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

Minnesota

It is a misdemeanor in Minnesota to use or possess a fake ID. The punishment is up to 90 days in prison, along with a $1,000 fine.

Mississippi

Possessing a fake ID in Mississippi is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Missouri

In Missouri, using an ID that is not yours or forging an ID is considered a Class A misdemeanor. While the charge for using a fake ID in Missouri is not a felony, you may be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail with a fine up to $1,000.

Montana

It is a misdemeanor to use a fake ID in Montana. The punishment for this crime is up to six months in prison and a fine that can reach $500.

Nebraska

Nebraska has some of the harshest fake ID laws in the country. If caught using a fake ID, you can be charged with a Class IV felony, which comes with a maximum sentence of two years in jail, 12 months of probation and a fine of up to $10,000.

Nevada

Using a fake ID in Nevada to gamble, drink, or buy cigarettes is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Selling or lending a fake ID is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

New Hampshire

A first offender using a fake ID in New Hampshire will be fined $500. A second offense results in a fine of $1,000.

New Jersey

Possessing a fake ID in New Jersey is a fourth-degree crime, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine that can reach $10,000.

New Mexico

New Mexico can consider fake ID usage identity theft, which is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine that can reach $5,000.

New York

In New York, you can be arrested for felony forgery for using a fake ID. Typically, those charges are reduced to non-criminal offenses. Under New York law, you can be fined a maximum of $300 and be sentenced to 15 days in prison.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, possessing a fake ID is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can lead to an arrest. However, the majority of offenders are not arrested.

North Dakota

It is a Class B misdemeanor to use a fake ID in North Dakota. The penalty is a fine of up to $500.

Ohio

It is a first-degree misdemeanor to use a fake ID in Ohio. The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 or 12 months in prison. While rare, you can also be charged with felony fraud.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma is among the harsher states when it comes to fake ID laws. Making a fake ID or loaning one out can result in a felony charge. The lesser charge is a misdemeanor with a $200 fine and a 60-day suspension of driver’s license.

Oregon

In Oregon, the penalty for using a fake ID is likely to be a misdemeanor with a suspension of license for one year, along with community service. At it’s harshest, you could receive a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law states that using a fake ID can result in up to 90 days in prison and a $300 fine.

Rhode Island

First offenders using a fake ID face a suspension of driver’s license for 30 days, a fine of up to $500, and 30 hours of community service.

South Carolina

It is a misdemeanor to use a fake ID in South Carolina. The punishment is a maximum of 30 days in jail for a first offense and up to six months in jail for a repeat offense.

South Dakota

South Dakota law states that using a fake ID is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The punishment is a fine of up to $200, up to 30 days in jail, or both.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, using a fake ID will result in a driver’s license suspension of one year. If you are a minor, you may have to partake in community service and will receive a fine between $50 and $200.

Texas

The fake ID laws in Texas are dependent on the type of ID that is being falsified. Using someone else’s ID as your own is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas with a fine that can reach $500. Using an altered ID or a forged ID is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to 180 days in prison along with a fine that can reach $2,000.

Utah

If you use a fake ID in Utah to buy alcohol or gain access to a bar, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If you loan your ID out to another person, that is a Class B misdemeanor.

Vermont

If you are caught using a fake ID in Vermont, you face a $288 fine and a 60-day suspension of your driver’s license.

Virginia

If you use or distribute a fake ID in Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you use the fake ID to buy a firearm, though, the charge increases to a Class 6 felony.

Washington

Owning a fake ID in Washington is punishable by a fine between $250 and $1,000, up to 364 days in prison, or 25 hours of community service.

West Virginia

Using a fake ID or loaning a legitimate ID in West Virginia will result in a fine up to $500. If you lend your ID out, it can be sent to the state, and your license can be revoked.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin punishes fake ID usage with a fine between $300 and $1,250, driver’s license suspension between 30 and 90 days, and community service. If convicted, you will face a combination of those three penalties.

Wyoming

Wyoming may have the harshest fake ID penalties in the United States. If you are caught using a fake ID in Wyoming, you will face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a large fine. Anyone caught making or selling fake ID cards can face up to 15 years in federal prison.

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