Felony Fake ID Charge in Massachusetts
It’s tough being 19 or 20 years old though, when you’re left behind by your 21 year old friends as they head out to experience the Boston nightlife. The easy solution – a fake ID. The chances of getting caught seem slim, and they are easy and not too expensive to obtain. Using a fake ID is easy to justify because “everyone else has one” and even if your parents know, they don’t seem to get overly upset. It will also be useful to take back to college in September.
Our advice: think again! There are serious criminal consequences in Massachusetts for offenses involving false identification cards, and police are very aggressive in detecting and prosecuting these offenses. It is against the law in Massachusetts to falsely make or alter a driver’s license or other forms of identification. This offense is a felony, with possible punishment of 5 years in prison. A felony conviction has serious permanent ramifications and can affect eligibility for financial aid as well as the right to vote or to possess a firearm. It is also a criminal offense to use or carry a false identification card. The simple act of using or carrying a fake ID can result in a misdemeanor conviction punishable by imprisonment of not more than three months and a fine of not more than $200.
The SJC recognized that were it to accept the Commonwealth’s flawed argument, “it would necessarily follow that police could search any vehicle containing sealed bottles of alcohol, based upon a potential risk that the driver could open a bottle and begin drinking while driving.” The SJC also pointedly dismissed the Commonwealth’s argument that the search was justified to enforce a federal prohibition of possession of small amounts of marijuana. The court emphasized that “given the clear preference expressed in the 2008 initiative that police focus their attention elsewhere, Federal law does not supply an alternative basis for investigating possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.”
Now, let’s consider reality. Is it likely that a teenager will actually go to jail for using a false identification card? Of course not. However, he may be summoned to appear in court with the result that the charge will appear on his criminal record, with negative implications for future employment.
The main consequence that should get the attention of any teenager is the impact on his driver’s license if caught using a fake ID. Even if a car was not involved in the offense, most police departments will report any arrests for false identification offenses to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry is required to suspend the driver’s license of any person convicted of making or altering a driver’s license for one year. If the charge is for using or carrying a false identification card, the Registry may suspend the driver’s license for 180 days, even if there is not a conviction.
If you have the unfortunate experience of being charged with a false identification offense, call a lawyer. There are things that can be done to avoid many of these consequences, but it is critical to intervene at the earliest possible stage.
Call Sankey Law Offices if you have questions regarding Massachusetts felony fake id laws and your rights.
Our advice: think again! There are serious criminal consequences in Massachusetts for offenses involving false identification cards, and police are very aggressive in detecting and prosecuting these offenses. It is against the law in Massachusetts to falsely make or alter a driver’s license or other forms of identification. This offense is a felony, with possible punishment of 5 years in prison.