A Brief Guide to Texas' Fake ID Laws
Movies and television shows have portrayed teens getting ahold of a fake ID card to try and buy alcohol or cigarettes as sort of a coming-of-age ritual. While it’s true that a lot of kids do try and do this, they and many other people don’t know just how much trouble this could land them in.
Believe it or not, this is a form of identity fraud, which can carry criminal consequences. Furthermore, depending on what kind of a fake ID you have and how you try and use it, the charges could escalate to extremely serious levels. To help you better-understand these charges, here is just a brief primer on Texas’ fake ID laws.
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Teenage Fake ID Cards
Let’s go back to the example we discussed before — a teen gets ahold of a fake ID that shows they’re older than they actually are and uses it to buy alcohol or cigarettes before they’re legally allowed. Seems harmless enough right? Not exactly.
If they’re caught doing this and the vendor or law enforcement decide to press charges, they could face a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500, plus the mark on your criminal record.
However, if the license has a completely new identity on it, the charges are escalated to a Class A misdemeanor. These charges carry an increased potential fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail!
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to actually try and use the fake ID card in order to be accused and convicted of this crime; merely carrying it as an instrument is enough to warrant charges if you have the intent of using it.
Other Fake ID Forms
Teens who want booze before they’re 21 aren’t the only people who use fake identification cards, however. It’s not uncommon for someone to try and forge another form of ID for nefarious purposes. One such document is a professional certificate or license, like a license to sell things like controlled substances or toxic materials.
People may also create false ID instruments in an attempt to defraud others, which has been made even easier through the internet and the need to not even be anywhere in person in order to commit the crime. Perhaps the most common example of this would be stealing personally-identifiable information with the intent of committing credit card fraud. Using this information to make unauthorized purchases is against the law, but it’s ridiculously difficult to track down perpetrators.
Furthermore, people often create false identifications using this personally-identifiable information to attempt to open bank accounts, take out loans, and even make huge purchases using someone else’s identity, which means they’ll be held responsible for them. This is why it’s crucially important to make sure you’re constantly monitoring your identity and credit report and alerting the authorities to any sort of suspicious activity.
Is Having a Fake ID a Felony in Texas?
Using stolen information to commit identity fraud could even be considered a felony, subjecting you to:
- Prison sentences of multiple years
- Fines of $10,000
- Even more serious consequences
In fact, you don’t even have to use the information in order to be found guilty of the crime; simply being in possession of this illegally-obtained information could warrant misdemeanor charges and a fine of up to $4,000.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney for help if you’ve been charged with identity fraud. Contact The Clark Law Firm now at (817) 435-4970 to schedule a case evaluation!