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Possession of a Fake ID

Florida Statutes, Section 322.212 prohibits possessing, making or selling a false identification card (often called a “fake ID”). Many of these cases involve a high school or college student who is under 21 who uses the fake I.D. to purchase alcohol or enter a night club not open to people under the age of 21. Related charges include underage possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years old. 

Many of these cases involve borrowing an older’s siblings driver’s license, buying a fake I.D. at a sketchy online site, or photoshop a different date of birth on a copy of your passport.

Although the possession of a fake I.D. used to be a misdemeanor in Florida, effective October 1, 1997, Florida’s “fake I.D.” laws were amended to make the possession of a driver’s license or state identification card not produced lawfully by the appropriate governmental agency is a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine under Fla Stat. 322.212.

If the only thing altered was the date of birth, then the offense can be charged as a second degree misdemeanor.  

Attorney for Fake I.D. Crimes in Tallahassee, FL

If you were arrested for possessing, making or selling a fake I.D. in Tallahassee or Leon County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. We can help you understand the charges, the minimum and maximum penalties allowed under the statute, and possible defenses. 

For college students who received a notice to appear (instead of being formally booking into the jail) after possessing a fake I.D., you should be aware that any local law enforcement agency might forward the report to the Dean of Student Affairs for appropriate disciplinary action. 

Related offenses include making or possessing the equipment to make a counterfeit driver licenses or government-issued identification can be charged as second-degree felony. In fact, each time a fake I.D. is made, a separate charge can be filed against you under Florida Statute Section 831.29.

Also, if you give a police officer a false name or use fake identification upon being arrested or legally detained, you are guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.00 for violating Florida’s new statute 901.36.

Call us today at (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case. 


Felony Penalties for Fake I.D. Charges in Florida 

If you were charged with a violation of section 322.212(5), Florida Statutes, for seeking to obtain a Florida identification card under a false name or then the offense is charged as a third degree felony. Section 322.212(5)(a) requires proof that the defendant knowingly made a false statement, knowingly concealed a material fact, or otherwise committed a fraud in his Florida identification card application.


Misdemeanor Penalties for Fake I.D. Charges in Florida

Florida law prohibits a person from possessing a driver’s license or identification card upon which the date of birth has been altered. §322.212(5)(b), Fla. Stat. Although most of the offenses under the statute for having a fake I.D. are charged as a felony if the only thing altered was the date or birth, then the crime is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor. 

So if you violate the statute by possessing a driver’s license, or any instrument in the similitude thereof, on which the date of birth has been altered then you can be charged with a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail or 6 months probation. 


The Florida “Real ID Act”

In 2005, the United States Congress passed, and the President signed, the “Real ID Act” as part of an effort to strengthen the accuracy and reliability of government-issued identification in order to prevent terrorists from gaining either state or federally issued identification documentation that would allow them to travel freely within the United States in pursuit of their terrorist objectives. See Pub.L. No. 109–13, 119 Stat. 231 (2005).

The Act required states to significantly increase the documentation requirements to obtain driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards.

For United States citizens to receive or renew their driver’s license or state identification cards, a U.S. Citizen would be required to present a certified copy of their birth certificate or a valid United States passport.

Florida began issuing Real ID-compliant credentials in 2010. Florida law specifically requires either a birth certificate or passport in order to obtain a driver’s license or identification card. See § 322.08, Fla. Stat. (2011). If a person has changed their name from their birth name, then that person is required to also provide copies of either a court judgment or a marriage certificate/divorce decree changing the name.

The effect of the Real ID Act on persons who ostensibly have undergone a common law name change is that those persons are prevented from getting identification that would allow them to travel by air, apply for federal benefits, or be honored by other states and the federal government.

The implementation of the Real ID Act by the State constitutes a limited preemption of the ability to effect a common law name change.

How is the term “Driver’s License” Defined under Florida Law?

When in chapter 322 the legislature actually has meant the term “driver’s license” to mean something other than a Department-issued certificate, it has said so by explicitly giving that term a different meaning for purposes of a specific statutory section. 

For example, under § 322.212(1), Florida law provides that for purposes of a statute proscribing unlawful possession and certain other unlawful acts with respect to a driver’s license that “[t]he term ‘driver’s license’ includes a driver’s license issued by the department or its agents or a driver’s license issued by any state or jurisdiction that issues licenses recognized in this state for the operation of a motor vehicle”).


Additional Resources 

  • What Really happens When You Are Busted for a Fake I.D.
    Visit the MTV news website to learn more about the consequences of being charged with a fake id throughout the country. The article addressed whether you can go to jail after discussing the issue with police officers and criminal defense attorneys. The article points out that the charges are most serious in Florida where the offense can be charged as a felony. The article also discusses what happens when you borrow an older’s friends real ID, buy a fake I.D. at a sketchy online site or photoshop a copy of your passport.
  • Florida Statute 322.212 – Unauthorized possession of a driver’s license or identification card
    Visit the website of the Florida Senate to learn more about crimes related to a driver’s license or identification card under Chapter 322 of Title XXII. 
  • Driver License Fraud Protection
    Visit the website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to learn more about driver’s license fraud, protecting yourself from identity theft, and identity theft links and contacts. Learn more about investigations into the presentation of counterfeit immigration documents such as the I-94 or “green card” by an undocumented alien who is not eligible for a Florida driver license or identification card. Also find information about the penalties for presenting a counterfeit birth certificate or social security card created on a personal computer by scanning a legitimate document and printing it out on a color printer after changing the identity information.

Finding an Attorney for Possession of a Fake ID in Tallahassee, FL

Criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law in Tallahassee, FL, discuss what can happen if you use a fake I.D. in Leon County, FL, and are charged with either the felony or misdemeanor version of the crime.

Call today to talk to an attorney about your case and ways to fight to get the charges completed dismissed. Call (850) 681-7777 today to discuss your case. Let us put our experience to work for you. 


This article was last updated on Monday, August 15, 2016.