Using a fake ID may seem like an age-old tradition – even a rite of passage of sorts – for many young people. Fake identification laws, though, are a serious matter in the eyes of law enforcement.
Whether the fake ID is used to skirt the law for underage drinking, buy tobacco products or similar items, drive while still underage, duck immigration officials or even steal from someone else, using a fake ID is a stern offense. In some cases, it’s considered fraud.
In other words, if you’re caught using a fake ID, you may find yourself in more trouble than you earlier thought.
What Are the Consequences of Getting Caught With a Fake ID in Ohio?
It depends on the use of the fake ID.
For example, under Ohio law, if you’re popped for using a fake ID to purchase alcohol, you could be facing a misdemeanor and:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Up to six months in jail
- Suspension of your driver’s license.
If you’re a student, you may also be subject to additional penalties from your school – possibly even being expelled if there’s a conviction.
When Does Using a Fake ID Become Fraud?
Fake IDs come in various guises. Some are made specific to the person holding the ID. A popular dodge, though, is to use the ID of an actual person who merely looks like the person holding it.
In fact, it’s not unheard of for real IDs to be handed down through the years to people who look like the person on the ID. In the age of identity theft, though, law enforcement is getting even more serious about those who use someone else’s ID.
The penalties for using the identification of someone else is a possible felony and includes up to a full year behind bars and up to $2,500 in fines.
When Do Fraud Charges Escalate?
It’s troubling enough to be charged with using a fake ID to purchase alcohol or tobacco products.
If you’re accused of using someone else’s ID to open a fraudulent account or for some other nefarious reason, you’re at risk of facing more time in jail and heavier fines.
In some instances, another person’s identity is actually stolen by using the victim’s birth date, Social Security number or some other identifying factor.
- It’s a 4th-degree felony if the fraud led to a financial loss under $7,500. Possible punishment for this offense is up to a year-and-a-half in prison and $5,000 in fines.
- A 3rd-degree felony charge is possible if there was between $7,500 – $150,000 in financial losses to the victim. If convicted, you could be looking at up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- A 2nd-degree felony is possible if there was more than $150,000 – or if the victim was an elderly person, disabled or a member of the military, and the loss was between $7,5000 and $150,000. The penalty for this charge is up to eight years behind bars and a $15,000 fine.
- 1st-degree felony charges are possible if the victim was elderly, disabled or an active duty service member, and the financial losses were more than $150,000. This penalty carries up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
As you can tell, Ohio law takes a grim view of those convicted of using someone else’s identity to benefit financially or in other ways.
The potential penalties for fraud escalate even further when federal authorities are involved.
Earlier this year, an Ohio woman was charged by the feds for using a fake ID and using a child’s Social Security number to rent an apartment, open a bank account, and lease an SUV.
She’s now facing up to five years behind bars, up to $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release.
What Should I Do if I’m Charged With Using a Fake ID?
Even though using a fake ID may not seem like that big of a deal, it could potentially be a gamechanger for your future. Even if your record before the charge was spotless, you need the expertise of a skilled criminal defense attorney. There’s simply too much at stake.
If you’re convicted of a felony, you’ll have to deal with it being on your record for the rest of your life. Even if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor offense, charges like this could impact your future employment opportunities.
Understand that being charged is different than being convicted. Your best bet for having the charges either reduced or dismissed altogether is to rely upon a defense attorney.