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Is it a Crime to Possess a Fake ID?

In Iowa, the legal age to drink alcohol is 21, and the legal age to possess or purchase a tobacco, nicotine, or vape product is 18. Because of these age restrictions, it is not uncommon for young people to obtain fake IDs so they can purchase and consume the same products their friends are using. Unfortunately, in doing so, they could face serious penalties and/or criminal charges.

Warning Issued by Iowa DOT

Although young people who have fake IDs mostly use them to get into bars or to purchase alcohol and/or cigarettes, they can also be used to commit other offenses, including credit card fraud, bank fraud, and/or check fraud, all of which can result in huge financial damages. As such, the government is cracking down on the creation and use of false or altered driver’s licenses and ID cards.

In 2011, the Iowa Department of Transportation issued a statement warning young people of the consequences of manufacturing, possessing, or using a fake ID. When working with a counterfeiter, underage individuals not only run the risk of having their personal information stolen, but they are also subject to criminal charges punishable by fines, jail/prison time, and/or suspension of their driver’s license.

Potential Fake ID Charges

Below are some of the potential charges a person could face if caught with a fake ID:

  • Falsifying public documents: Under Iowa Code §718.5, anyone who creates or alters a public document, such as an ID, without the authority to do so could be charged with a class D felony. Violators could be sentenced to prison for anywhere from 30 days to 5 years, fined between $750 and $7,500, and have their driver’s license suspensed for up to six months.
  • Falsifying driver’s Licenses, non-operator IDs, or other forms: Under Iowa Code §321.216A, it is illegal for a person to make, obtain, or possess a fake ID. It is also unlawful to use a fake name or conceal information on an application for a driver’s license or non-operator ID. Violations of this statute are charged as serious misdemeanors. The penalties for a conviction include up to 1 year in jail, up to $1,875 in fines, and up to 6 months’ driver’s license suspension.
  • Use of a driver’s license or non-operator ID by someone under the legal age to obtain alcohol: Under Iowa Code §321.216B, anyone under the legal age who purchases alcohol with a fake ID could be charged with a simple misdemeanor. If convicted, the person could be fined $200 and have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months.
  • Unlawful use of license or non-operator ID: Under Iowa Code §321.216, it is a simple misdemeanor for a person to use a fake ID or an ID belonging to another individual; lend their ID to someone else for use; refuse to surrender a suspended, canceled, or revoked ID; or allow someone to illegally use a fake ID. Violators are punished by a $100 fine and a driver’s license suspension of 30 days.

Call Keegan, Tindal & Mason for a Free Consultation

If you were charged with a fake ID offense, contact our skilled team to discuss your legal options. We have over 50 years of combined experience helping individuals through various criminal cases, including college crimes. When you work with us, we will build a unique defense to protect your rights.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (319) 499-5524 or contacting us online.