Fake ID charges have become much more common in recent years and as a result our DC student defense lawyers frequently represent students who have been arrested on allegations that they have attempted to use a fake ID to get into a bar. These students and their parents are often shocked that trying to use a fake ID to get into a bar can result in arrest as opposed to simply having the fake ID confiscated.
The reason that parents are so often shocked is that back when they were students, the only result of trying to use a fake ID was getting your fake ID confiscated. But these days, the Metropolitan Police Department and bars themselves have become much more aggressive in arresting students who are attempting to use any false forms of identification. For that reason, the criminal charge of misrepresentation of age by using false identification has become much more common.
At the same time, it’s still not a situation in which most students are facing a high likelihood of being convicted of a crime. There are options in the event that a student is arrested for using a fake ID, and it may be possible to get those charges dismissed and prevent the arrest from appearing on the student’s records at all.
If a student is found to be in possession of a fake ID by campus police or by the university administration, the possession of a fake ID can be charged as a violation of the university student code of conduct. Usually, that violation is not going to result in expulsion, and most often, it will not even result in suspension.
Even so, it can sometimes result in the student being officially reprimanded and placed on disciplinary probation. In that situation, the student will likely have to comply with certain conditions such as taking alcohol classes or being prohibited from participating in organizations for a short period of time.
However if a student is caught trying to use a fake ID to enter a bar, a nightclub or a liquor store, then that can result in the student being arrested and charged with the crime of misrepresentation of age. If a student is charged with misrepresentation of age, then an attorney can work with the D.C. Attorney General’s Office to arrange for the dismissal of those charges.
Fortunately, D.C. law does contain provisions that permit a student to complete a diversion program, which involves completing community service and paying a fine, in exchange for having criminal charges dismissed by prosecutors. Once the charges are dismissed, there is also an expedited procedure for requesting that the arrest record be expunged so that the student never has to acknowledge that he or she was arrested in the first place.
Typically, if a student had a fake ID or some false form of identification confiscated by the university through, for example, a dorm room search, then that most likely wouldn’t result in a criminal charge.
Simply possessing a false form of identification is typically not charged as a crime by the D.C. Attorney General’s Office.
In D.C., the situation that typically results in arrest is when a student under the age of 21 attempts to use a fake ID or somehow otherwise misrepresents his or her age in an attempt to enter an alcohol-serving establishment.
Alternatively, if the university confiscates the student’s ID on the allegation that it was used as a false form of identification, that could result in a student judicial proceeding because possession of a fake ID is often a violation of student code of conduct, but that usually wouldn’t result in the student being charged with a crime.
A DC fake ID attorney can also help a student who is caught with a fake ID on campus by helping the student navigate the student judicial hearing process. This can help minimize any penalties that the student may face in order to help him or her stay in school and graduate on time.
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