“Kids will be kids” and “Teens can be trouble.”
It’s easy to dismiss children’s misdeeds with such clichés, but when it comes to carrying a fake ID, parents need to be vigilant and teach that this sort of indiscretion can forever alter the opportunities available to them in adulthood.
Possession and/or use of a fake ID can mean:
- Felony and misdemeanor charges
- Loss of license
- Loss of college opportunities
“The laws are more punitive than they have ever been surrounding these issues,“ warns retired Judge Barbara Riley. “It may seem draconian, when all the kid wants is a beer, but the focus on Homeland Security since 9/11 has made false identification a more serious offense.”
Charges can be filed
Glenview Police Sergeant Mike Mazurkiewicz explains that there are both potential felony and misdemeanor charges associated with this crime. “While a first offense is often a citation, it is up to the discretion of the officer, and they have the right to arrest an offender,” potentially leading to greater penalties. Because a state-issued ID is actually property of the Secretary of State, a report and the ID may be sent to the Secretary of State with the mandatory punishment that the offender lose their drivers license until age 21.
And you don’t have to actually use the fake ID to get into trouble. Proof of illegal use or intent is not required. Kids may not realize that for a minor, the mere possession of an ID, with an age over 21, is a punishable offense, whether it’s in a glove box, a wallet, or anyplace on your person.
Jail time is possible
A felony charge typically results from a second offense, from carrying an ID not created by an official government entity, or from selling or manufacturing IDs. The punishment may include a fine of up to $25,000 and up to three years in prison. Additionally, Sgt Mazurkiewicz cautions, “This is on your record forever, every time you apply for a job you have to state that you were convicted of a felony.”
College admission just got harder
A child charged as a juvenile may be able to have this offense expunged at 18, but by then, it may already have destroyed college opportunities since most colleges have their own policies regarding this crime, including expulsion. Further, Judge Riley adds, “Just because it is no longer on an official record, doesn’t mean that information can’t be found. In the computer era, anything recorded can be located.”
With the Glenview police force since 1998, Sgt Mazurkiewicz has seen his share of local mischief and has some common-sense advice for parents. “Be aware of what your kids are doing. Don’t be afraid to look around when they aren’t there. A fake ID may be hiding in their room or car. Sit down with your kids; it might seem difficult, but think how devastated you would be if something happened. Follow them on social media—we do. If you neglect this responsibility then you are missing out on being a preventative barrier before something happens.”