Is a fake ID worth the risk?

Classes are over for the semester, and you are ready for a few months of relaxing before the next, more intense semester begins. If you plan on hanging out with some friends, you might decide to check out some of the local bars, or just grab some beer from the liquor store or grocery store. The only catch is that you have not yet reached your 21st birthday.

Nationwide, it is against the law to purchase and consume alcohol under the age of 21, unless -- in some states such as Colorado -- your parents are with you. You probably don't want your parents hanging around with you and your friends just so you can drink, so you may follow the advice of a friend who encourages you to get a fake ID. Unfortunately, your friend may unwittingly set you up for serious trouble.

Potential consequences

You may have an older sibling who will loan you an ID, but using a borrowed ID is not as easy to pull off as it may have been when your parents were your age. More store clerks and bartenders receive extensive training in recognizing fake IDs, and because their licenses are on the line, they are likely to look very carefully. Your next alternative is ordering a fake ID online or from someone who knows someone. Here are the risks you take in this case:

  • If police catch you with a fake ID, they may charge you with a criminal offense, which remains on your record if a judge convicts you.
  • Having a criminal charge on your record may complicate your career plans, depending on the course of study you are taking.
  • A conviction may not land you in jail, but you will likely receive a fine and other penalties.
  • Obtaining a fake ID online or elsewhere may compromise your identity.
  • Using someone else's ID to purchase alcohol may lead to charges of identity theft, which can be a felony in some cases.

If your fake ID is from another state, you will want to know how those laws differ from Colorado's rules and penalties. If you attend college in Colorado, you may face additional administrative penalties at your institution, such as mandated alcohol counseling or even suspension from school. You would be wise to reach out to a skilled attorney who can defend you in court as well as advocating for you if you face disciplinary action that could jeopardize your college education.

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