Defending College Students in Georgia
The crime sounds worse than it actually is: a student uses a fake I.D. to get into a bar, a bartender calls police, and the student is charged with possession of a fraudulent identification document. However, that particular charge, often associated with identity theft, terrorism and serious fraud in the current climate, may be viewed in an exceptionally negative light by prospective employers: The last thing you want is to lose a job opportunity because somebody misperceives a simple "college-days" episode of using an I.D. to get into a club, as a sign that you are a purveyor of fraud or identity theft.
My name is Matt Karzen. As a criminal defense attorney in Athens, Georgia, I often defend college students at the University of Georgia (UGA), Gainesville State (Oconee Campus) and Athens Tech who have been charged with alcohol-related offenses such as Fake I.D. charges and minor in possession. I offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
What Are Fake I.D. Charges?
In Georgia, the use of a fake I.D. is usually charged as "possession of a fraudulent identification document" or "fraudulent use of a driver's license." You can face these charges for use of a fake driver's license, passport, birth certificate or other form of I.D.
What Are the Consequences of a Conviction?
Possession of a fraudulent identification document or fraudulent use of a driver's license are both misdemeanors, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 fine. Conviction of fraudulent use of a driver's license is also likely to result in suspension of your actual driver's license.
While jail time is unusual for a first offense, it is important to avoid a conviction on fake I.D. charges, as a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. With a lawyer's help, a conviction on your record is almost never necessary if this is a first offense, and even if you have a prior offense, there are often ways to avoid conviction on this charge.
What Are Some Common Defenses?
Very often the police discovered the I.D. during a search of your wallet or purse. The law regarding searches like these provides ample opportunity to challenge the legality of the police conduct. If the search was illegal, then the fake I.D. itself is excluded from evidence, and the prosecutor has no case.
If the I.D. you had was a real I.D., but belonged to another person, the law requires the government to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you possessed that I.D. for an unlawful purpose. Simply having another person's I.D. is not a crime, and proving your intended use for that I.D. was unlawful is not an easy task for a prosecutor.
Free Attorney Consultation
If you have been charged with fake I.D. charges, contact me, lawyer Matt Karzen, for a free consultation. My law office is in downtown Athens, Georgia. Call toll free at 866-487-0881.