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Fake ID California

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Using a Fake ID in California

When most people think about fake IDs, they imagine rebellious teenagers trying to bypass age restrictions. This is just the tip of the iceberg for fake IDs in California. Fake IDs are more than mere adolescent mischief. Using one is a serious criminal offense carrying significant penalties in California.

In the Golden State, the laws surrounding fake IDs are strict, and the legal repercussions have long-lasting impacts. Understanding these laws can be beneficial whether you’re considering using a fake ID, have been caught with one, or find yourself falsely accused. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and know when to seek legal counsel.

California Fake ID Laws

California Penal Code 470b PC states that it’s a crime to fraudulently display or possess any fake IDs. The ID must be a fraudulent government-issued identification card to fall under this section. Such documents could be a fake driver’s license, birth certificate, Social Security card, etc.

The law encompasses the actual use of such IDs and the intent to use them.

The law also provides that falsifying, altering, or counterfeiting a government-issued ID is illegal, meaning that both the manufacturer and user of a false ID are guilty of an offense.

According to California Law, an ID is fake if it is:

  • falsified
  • altered
  • forged
  • counterfeited
  • duplicated
  • reproduced

To broadly classify fake ID cards, they can either be altered or counterfeited. Altered IDs are those that were authentic but have been tampered with. These sorts of IDs have changed details, such as the name or date of birth. Counterfeit IDs, on the other hand, are wholly faked. They are fabricated to resemble a real ID. People create counterfeit IDs like driver’s licenses or passports.

Consequences of Using a Fake ID Card

California’s fake ID law provides for the following conviction penalties.

Criminal Charges

The creation, possession, or use of a fake ID can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecution determines the charge depending on the case circumstances.

If sentenced as a misdemeanor, the punishment is a maximum of one year in county jail, e.g., Van Nuys jail. If punished as a felony, the penalty is confinement in a county jail for 16 months, two or three years.

Loss of Driving Privileges

California’s fake ID laws also provide driving-related penalties for using false IDs. However, this applies specifically to minor drivers. The law allows minors who are convicted of fake ID offenses to be suspended or delayed from driving for up to a year.

Permanent Criminal Record

Whether a misdemeanor or felony, a conviction is part of an offender’s criminal record. Having such a permanent criminal record can affect you in many ways. It could hinder future employment, university admissions, or professional licensing.


One of the fake California IDs used by immigrants the most is a fake passport to avoid deportation. However, this is very dangerous. For non-citizens, a fake ID conviction can lead to deportation or removal proceedings.

Fake ID Scams

With the rise of digital platforms, fake ID scams have become increasingly rampant. Often, unsuspecting individuals are enticed by promises of authentic-looking fake IDs with a free duplicate.

However, not only are these operations illegal, but they can also be fraudulent. They often lead to financial loss or identity theft. Additionally, you would commit a crime by attempting to purchase these IDs.

The best way to avoid fake ID scams would be to avoid trying to buy fake IDs in the first place. Remember, prevention is better than cure. If you find yourself in need of a fake ID, consult an attorney first. They may be able to help you get what you need the ID for through some other legal means.

What Happens Next if You Get Caught With a Fake ID in California?

You will first be arrested if apprehended with a fake ID in California. Afterward, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. But if the fake ID was used to carry out a more severe crime like identity theft, you might be charged with a felony. Felonies attract stricter punishments and carry have worse consequences for your life even after prison.

It can be challenging to deny a fake ID charge when you are in actual possession of the ID in question. It is harder for the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without actual possession of the said false ID.

As soon as you are arrested, it is advisable to contact a criminal lawyer. Among many other things, your lawyer can negotiate for your charge to be brought down. In other words, instead of being charged with a felony, you may face a misdemeanor charge.

Your defense attorney can also analyze your case and develop a strong defense. If you were falsely accused, your lawyer could help you prove it. At the end of the day, you might just beat the charges.

The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney: Your California Fake ID Attorneys

Using a fake ID can lead to severe implications. Understanding the severity of these repercussions is vital. If you or a loved one faces a fake ID charge, seeking immediate legal counsel is crucial. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system, build a robust defense, and protect your rights.

A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney can defend you against fake ID charges. At our law firm, our lawyers have experience with a wide variety of crimes. It matters little whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. We have the knowledge, experience, and skills to represent you. Additionally, if you are facing fake ID charges in relation to identity theft, our Los Angeles theft attorney may be able to help.

However, time is of the essence in criminal cases. The earlier you get superior legal representation, the better for your case. Our trilingual team is ready to provide you with a free first consultation. So contact us today, and find out how we can help you.

Schedule Your Consultation

Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.