A person caught with a fake ID in New Jersey could face serious trouble. The same is true of those who make, sell, or otherwise distribute unauthorized IDs. New Jersey criminalizes making fake IDs under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17.3, Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another. Penalties can range from as little as 18 months to as much as 10 years in prison.
What Are the Penalties for Making Fake IDs in NJ?
The exact punishment for a conviction of making fake IDs depends on the number of false documents one is proved to have made or sold. For a single fake ID, a person can be charged with a crime of the fourth degree. This can result in 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The same penalty applies in cases involving multiple fake IDs, up to a total of 19 and involving no more than 4 persons’ information.
For cases involving 20 or more fake IDs, or 5 or more items containing personal information pertaining to 5 or more persons, one can be charged with a third-degree crime. A conviction can mean between 3 and 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The most serious cases of manufacturing fake IDs involve 50 or more false documents, or 10 or more items pertaining to 5 or more persons. This can result in being charged with a second-degree crime. A conviction could lead to 5 to 10 years in prison, plus a $150,000 fine.
Can I Be Charged with Identity Theft for Making a Fake ID?
It depends. New Jersey law allows for a person to be charged with identity theft for using a fake ID to obtain a benefit (i.e. get into a bar or by cigarettes). Whether or not the manufacture of fake IDs can lead to a charge of identity theft will depend on the circumstances of the case. For more about this crime and its penalties, read our information page here.
Juveniles Making Fake IDs in New Jersey
New Jersey’s criminal justice system is slightly gentler on juveniles, but the penalties can still be serious and derail one’s life. For cases of juveniles making fake IDs, most are charged with a fourth-degree crime, which can result in up to 1 year in detention. Youths charged with a third-degree crime can spend up to 2 years in detention, or up to 3 for a second-degree crime.
Defenses to Making Fake IDs NJ
The law states that it is a crime to possess, distribute, or manufacture items containing personal identifying information about another, without that person’s authorization, and with the knowledge that one is engaging in fraud or that one’s conduct will cause harm to another. As such, one possible defense is that the defendant did not realize he/she was engaging in fraudulent activity that could lead to harm. The case could be made that the IDs were not meant to be used (e.g. they were props for a school activity) or that the documents were part of an art project. This argument would not work if the IDs in question are too realistic or do not have some kind of obvious artistic element or other non-fraudulent purpose. Other defenses may involve suppressing evidence (meaning it can’t be used against the defendant at trial) that was illegally obtained, such as during an unauthorized search of one’s home. In many cases, the wisest course of action is to negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the charges to a lesser offense with less severe penalties.
Can a Conviction for Making Fake IDs Be Expunged in New Jersey?
It is possible for a person convicted of making fake IDs in New Jersey to have their criminal record expunged. An expungement means the record is deleted from certain databases and isolated so that only a small handful of authorities can access it. In order to have a conviction for making fake IDs expunged, a person must fulfill certain requirements. This includes waiting six years after completing sentencing, parole, and payment of any fines. In addition, since the offense is a felony, a person cannot have been convicted of any other felonies, and cannot have more than three disorderly persons offenses on their record. Read more about expungements in New Jersey.
Why Hire an Attorney for a Charge of Making a Fake ID in NJ?
A conviction for making fake IDs in NJ could ruin someone’s life. No one should attempt to handle such a predicament on their own. A skilled attorney will know the law and can present a solid defense based on the facts of the case. An attorney can determine if the search and arrest were made lawfully or if any evidence uncovered, including the ID(s), can be suppressed. When it is in the client’s best interest to negotiate instead of going to trial, the attorney can present arguments on behalf of the client with the best chance of getting a fair deal.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or your child was charged with displaying, possessing, or manufacturing a fake ID in New Jersey, contact the attorneys at Rosenblum Law today. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have helped many people in similar situations. We can defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what we can to have the fake ID charges dismissed. E-mail or call today at 888-815-3694.