Fake ID Law in the State of Texas By Jason Trumpler, P.C. on August 10, 2016

We represent people accused of crimes related to possession, presenting, or creating false identification (Fake IDs) in courts in and around Austin, Texas.

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FAKE IDs: What You Need to Know

Since 1984, when the U.S. increased the drinking age to 21 in all 50 states, teenagers have been engineering ways to keep drinking underage. One of these ways is using an all-mighty fake ID; whether stolen from a sibling, manufactured by an underground retailer or made themselves, counterfeit IDs are more prevalent in the college scene than ever before.

Even with new technologies implemented into IDs to make them harder to replicate like holograms, magnetic strips, and blacklight inks, college students are still finding ways to acquire fake IDs. But do not be fooled by their popularity. Having a fake ID is still a crime. Criminal Defense attorney Jason Trumpler discusses the consequences of getting caught owning or using a fake ID. In some cases, it is not a victimless crime with just a slap on the wrist punishment or no punishment at all.

Every state has different laws for Fake IDs (or false representation), what are the rules in Texas?

The possession, use, distribution, and manufacture of Fake IDs violates State and Federal law. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, attempting to buy alcohol with a counterfeit ID is a violation punishable by state law.

The Texas Transportation Code states that a minor who is in Possession of a Fake ID under 521.451 is guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by between 0 to 365 days in the County Jail, and by fines up to $4,000. There are possible defenses if the person is merely passively holding this identification and not displaying this identification or attempting to pass it off as authentic in some way, shape, or form. This statute also applies to possessing more than one active ID. You cannot possess more than one valid driver's license at any given time.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.07. Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor states that a minor trying to purchase alcohol by presenting any document that indicates he or she is 21 years of age or older is guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a Class C Misdemeanor is up to $500 fine, alcohol awareness classes, community service, and a possible license suspension. This type is the most common Fake ID crime in Travis County.

Texas Transportation Code Section 521.453. Fictitious License or Certificate punishes the creation of the traditional McLovin Fake ID as a Class C Misdemeanor with fines, court costs, classes, community service, and a possible license suspension.

Texas Penal Code § 37.10. Tampering With Governmental Record is a severe charge with punishment ranges from a Class C Misdemeanor to a 2nd Degree Felony. The State uses this statute when someone alters an actual state-issued identification card or driver's license to make it different then uses it as official identification in some way, shape, or form. This State punishes this offense as a Third Degree Felony. The range of punishment for a Third Degree Felony is:

  • 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division; and,
  • Fine of up to $10,000.

What is the real concern of lawmakers?

They are trying to reduce the risk of alcohol abuse, DWI, and other alcohol-related crimes or injuries like alcohol poisoning. It should also be a concern that when providing information to a website that specializes in producing fake IDs, there is a risk of potential identity theft.

What should retailers, bartenders, and bouncers know?

They should all be TABC certified or have a TABC seller's license. With Fake IDs becoming more mainstream, websites from overseas manufacture them, so they look exactly like the real thing. These fake IDs may even have real pictures, real addresses, and actual birthdays (with the year changed) to make them harder to spot and easier for the user to remember. Long gone are the days of using false information, now minors think using their real information is worth the risk. If you find a fake ID, be sure to confiscate it and, if possible, notify the authorities so they will charge the minor rather than you.

What do I do if I am caught in possession of or selling a Fake ID?

First, be aware that manufacturers who sell fake or novelty IDs may be undercover officers trying to catch you purchasing one. Multiple TABC undercover stings take place in the bars and clubs on 6th Street, so not owning a fake ID is the best way to avoid a confrontation with the law. Some undercover agents try to purchase counterfeit IDs from individuals selling them. Selling false IDs is considered tampering with or falsifying government records.

If you are caught with a fake ID and ticketed or caught selling counterfeit identification, call the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler at 512-457-5200 for a free consultation to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler regularly handles these cases involving minors and would be able to represent you or a loved one if you find yourself in this predicament.

Remember that just because college-age students widely hold fake IDs, significant consequences can still occur when using one.

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