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Experts say fake IDs are not worth the risk

'Once they lie to us, they’re going to get booked in jail,' Tempe police officer Ryan Conway said

Officer Anthony Kinsey reviews the seized ID's held at the ASU Police Department in Tempe on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.

Officer Anthony Kinsey reviews the seized ID's held at the ASU Police Department in Tempe on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.

For someone who's underage, the idea of a fake ID can be appealing, however, students should be wary of the serious consequences they can face if caught.

In a large majority of cases, those caught with a fake ID at a bar are given two options: Go home and leave the ID with the bouncer or stay and wait for the police to arrive. Yet, there are many situations where the police do get involved and there are serious consequences for all parties. 

Anyone under the age of 21 with possession of a fake ID is subject to prosecution for a class 1 misdemeanor and may also have their driver’s license suspended, Jeffery Trillo, the assistant director of the licensing and administration division at Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, said in an emailed statement.

Ryan Conway, a Tempe police officer who primarily works on Mill Avenue, said that if someone underage is caught with a fake ID and then lies to the police about it, they could face criminal charges of false reports which is another class 1 misdemeanor

“Once they lie to us, they’re going to get booked in jail,” said Conway. 

According to Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control’s FY 2019 Annual Report, counts charged by an investigator for a liquor law violation involving an underage person have dropped from 1,087 in 2015 to 890 in 2019. 

In addition, the number of driver’s licenses suspensions due to an underage person using a fake ID is down from 140 to 74 over the same time period.

If students use another person's actual ID as their own, there could be a third charge resulting in a fine of up to $1,500. If there is evidence that the ID's original owner knowingly gave the student their ID, that person could also be criminally charged. 

"Get into good habits," Conway said. "It's not available until you're 21 — you gotta find something else. It's not worth the risk, and you could face jail time. These are criminal acts."

Academic consequences of fake IDs

There could also be academic consequences that come from ASU if caught with a fake ID. Impersonating another, using a fake ID or even just the possession of a fake ID violates the prohibited conduct section of the ASU Student Code of Conduct. 

According to ASU’s Student Disciplinary Procedures, the dean of students may initiate an investigation based on information that a student has violated the Code of Conduct, and during the investigation, the student may be restricted or suspended.

For some, the idea of obtaining and using a fraudulent ID has more problems than its potential benefits.

Emma Ascott, a junior studying journalism and mass communication, said that these types of IDs often seem like an outdated and expensive method of underage drinking.

"I don't know anyone who has a fake actually," Ascott said. "I don't think they're too common."

However, getting caught with a fake ID does not only bring action toward the student. In addition to the underage student getting hit with a class 1 misdemeanor, the bartenders, wait-staff and on-site managers of the bar may also be hit with the same charge. 

Not only can the employees of the bar be held criminally liable, but they could be named in a civil lawsuit should an accident happen involving the underage drinker. The establishment may also lose its liquor license, affecting even more people. 

Ben Betz, a manager at Loco Patron in Tempe, said that they still deal with fake IDs averaging about one to two on a weekly basis, adding that “Taco Tuesdays,” Fridays and Saturdays are their big nights for finding fakes.

“We take them and lock them in a safe,” Betz said. “Then Tempe police come and takes them away.”

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