Eight Things You Didn't Know About Having a Fake ID


By Maya Kosoff

While buying a fake ID in a sketchy Chinatown alley may sound like the perfect solution to your ongoing problem of never being able to get into Lucy’s with your friends, there are actually many consequences that you may not have thought of if you get caught using a fake:

  • If you modify a real driver’s license to make it look like you’re a 22 year old, you can be punished with up to a year in prison in the state of New York. The crime? Class A Misdemeanor for altering an officially issued piece of documentation.
  • Using a fake to attempt to purchase alcohol is a crime anywhere in the U.S., and getting busted attempting to purchase alcohol will end up with you having to pay a fine, in addition to getting your driver’s license suspended from anywhere between 90 to 180 days.
  • Don’t think you’ll get off easy with making your own ID either: it’s also classified as a Class A Misdemeanor, meaning you could be facing up to a year in jail.

Other Consequences

  • Getting caught with a fake is just one offense—no big deal, right? Wrong. Your other charges might include possession of alcohol and supplying alcohol to (other) minors, both of which would lead to jail time and a suspended driver’s license.
  • Laws involving fake IDs don’t only apply to fakes themselves—they also apply when you use your older sister’s old ID (Class B Felony), or a real ID obtained with fake documentation, like a fake birth certificate.

Some Exceptions

  • Traffic Violation-By cooperating with the District Attorney if you get caught and go to court, you could have your sentence reduced to a Vehicle and Traffic Violation. The punishment: a jail term of less than 15 days.
  • The minimum penalty faced for getting caught underage is a court summons, and most kids who are offenders end up getting fined.
  • Possessing a fake ID is usually handled on a person-by-person basis in most courts, but most first-time offenders can end up getting a fine of up to $1,000. If your ID doesn’t have your actual name and address on it, you could be looking at getting busted for criminal impersonation too—also a $1,000 fine, plus possible jail time.

So before you head down to that sketchy liquor store on the other side of 81 with your friend and your fakes, think about the consequences. If it would be easier to have your 21-year-old friend go buy a handle of Svedka for you, why not go through him and spare yourself the trouble of getting caught with a fake ID?