Possessing & Forging Fake IDs in Los Angeles

Were you caught with a fake California driver's license?

You may have purchased a fake ID in order to have fun, but if you are caught with it in your possession, you can expect to face serious consequences. Sections 470(a) and 470(b) of the California Penal Code state that you can be sent to state prison or county jail for up to a year if you attempt to use a fake ID to buy alcohol or for any other purpose. This law applies whether or not you actually made the purchase. The penalties can also be increased if the fake ID is discovered during a DUI arrest.

The Los Angeles Police Department is cracking down on the spread of fake IDs in our area, and they are aggressively targeting forging operations. However, this is not limited to the production of forged driver's licenses for teenagers and college kids who want to buy alcohol. Due to the large number of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles, there is a healthy market of individuals who need to escape detection. You will be subjected to the same penalties for producing a fake ID as you would be for using one.

California Penal Code 470(b) – Having a Fake License or ID Card

According to California Penal Code Section 470(b), you could be charged with a crime if you display or possess a fake driver's license or identification card with the intent to commit fraud or a forgery. This includes any type of government-issued identification card that has been altered, forged, duplicated, counterfeited or falsified in any way. The ID does not actually have to be used in order to be charged with a crime.

You could be prosecuted for a crime under Penal Code Section 470(b) if:

  • As a minor, you possess a fake ID that you intend to use to buy alcohol
  • As an illegal immigrant, you have a fake ID to avoid detection by authorities
  • You have a fake ID in order to pass checks in the names of other people

If you have been arrested for possessing a fake ID, you could either face misdemeanor or felony charges. This crime is a "wobbler" in the state of California, which means that the severity of the charges will depend on the circumstances of the crime. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you could face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are convicted of a felony offense, you could face 16 months, two years or three years in state prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

California Penal Code 470(a) – Forging a License or ID Card

According to California Penal Code Section 470(b), you could be charged with a crime if you forge or counterfeit a driver's license or identification card with the intent to obtain an undeserved personal gain. This could include criminal acts like changing the birth date, name, physical description, photograph or expiration date that appears on a driver's license or government-issued ID card. This crime is also a "wobbler," which means that you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

  • Misdemeanor penalties: up to one year in county jail and $1,000 in fines
  • Felony penalties: up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines

Possible defenses to a conviction under this section include lack of intent (you didn't intent to use the ID to commit fraud), lack of knowledge (you didn't know the driver's license or ID was fake), and misidentification by the police (the fake ID didn't actually belong to you). When you come to Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for help with your case, you can trust that we will explore every possible defense. We have defended countless people against conviction, and we are ready to do the same for you.

Our Firm Can Help You Fight Your Criminal Charges

Fighting a fake ID charge and protecting your future depends on hiring an aggressive Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who can represent you in court. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we are not a generalized law firm; we focus exclusively on criminal defense. We have over 70 years of combined experience, and we will help you prepare your case with the goal of clearing your name as fast as possible.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for using a fake ID and want to learn how you can beat the charges.