Getting Help for a Fake ID Charge from a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Clemson, SC
Fake ID arrests can happen anywhere in the United States and in South Carolina, including Clemson, SC. Students, especially underage drinkers, are most-known for such careless, fraudulent activities. Many resort to using counterfeit ID to gain entry into bars, purchase drinks, or operate a vehicle.
Although SC laws consider such an offense as a misdemeanor charge, it can still carry grave consequences. An immediate guilty plea can result in a criminal record that may take years to expunge. This record may also have a huge bearing on the defendant’s college opportunities, employment chances, and social life. You or someone you love may be facing ID fraud charges. You will need the immediate and committed help of a lawyer in South Carolina.
Laws on Possession of Fake ID in South Carolina and Clemson, SC
South Carolina laws consider the possession of a fake ID as a misdemeanor offense. Anyone caught in possession of a fake ID in Clemson, SC can face fines, imprisonment, or both. For a first offense charge on a fake ID, the accused may need to settle a fine of $200. Additionally, they may face a maximum prison sentence of thirty days. For a second offense, the guilty party could end up paying as much as $500 in fines. The jail time for a second offense fake ID charge is also considerably longer. It stands at a maximum of six months.
Charges for the possession of fake ID can vary in nature. For example, it is illegal for you to continue using a canceled or suspended license or ID card. Even the display of such revoked or fraudulent cards is not permissible. It is also illegal for you to unlawfully alter any information on your ID and license. All of these can merit a fake ID charge and the eventual need for a criminal defense lawyer.
Lending a driver’s license or a personal identification card to another person is also not allowed under SC laws. One example of this is an adult lending his or her ID card to a minor. Another instance is when an individual lends his or her driver’s license to someone else.
There are also other instances of ID fraud, such as contributory efforts to the possession of a fake ID. One such instance is the failure to surrender an already expired or revoked driver’s license. The use of a fictitious name is also a common strategy for some people to commit ID fraud.
If you or a family member has been caught with a fake ID, you need to act fast. Penalties could vary depending on whether the arrest took place on campus or someplace else. To get the legal help you need, consulting with a criminal defense lawyer should be a priority.
Fake ID Arrests and Statistics in the US and in Clemson, SC
As a form of identity theft, the possession of a fake ID remains a pressing concern for authorities. The Economist has reported on the prevalence of forged IDs globally, from the US to countries like China. In the US, fake ID use is significantly related to the procurement and consumption of alcohol by underage drinkers. USA Today has also reported how fake ID issuance and use has become a graver problem than underage drinking.
In 2011, college roommates were arrested after selling counterfeit IDs to students of various schools. One of these schools was the University of Georgia. William Finley Trosclair, one of the roommates, admitted that they were only helping other students gain entry into bars. He ended up with a three-month prison sentence and a fine of thousands of dollars.
Moreover, a Chinese counterfeit ID website was known to manufacture IDs for students in the States. IDChief, no longer visible online since 2012, used to sell two ID copies for $150. The bulk price for such counterfeit IDs was cheaper at $100.
Although authorities will arrest those possessing a counterfeit ID, this kind of fraud will not always be reported. In 2014, the New York Times said in exchange for $100, some club bouncers will not report fake ID.
Why Do People Resort to Possession of Fake ID?
There are many reasons why an individual may resort to carrying and using a fake ID. Typically, it is done by enterprising underage individuals who wish to access liquor or restricted places like bars. Students may succumb to peer-pressure and forge counterfeit IDs themselves. This could also explain why many fake ID arrests take place on school premises and university campuses.
There are cases where an individual borrows another driver’s license and passes it off as his or her own. The reasons for this can be myriad. An underage individual may use someone else’s license to operate a vehicle. Or someone who has had his or her license revoked may use another person’s license as his own. Regardless of the nature of this fraud, it can still be construed as possession of fake ID.
Although individual offenses are common, syndicated operations on identity theft and ID fraud have also been at work. Between 2013 and 2014, for example, Kennedy International Airport authorities confiscated more than four thousand counterfeit IDs from China. According to USA Today, these fake identification cards were used for different purposes, and not only for fake licenses. These cards were also used to open new bank accounts, board a plane, and procure a passport.
The Negative and Long-Term Consequences of a Fake ID Charge
Under South Carolina laws, the possession of a fake identification card and license results in a misdemeanor offense. While you may easily brush off a misdemeanor charge lightly, this can have serious consequences on your record. A criminal record is, by all means, a serious matter to deal with.
The possession of fake ID and a consequential misdemeanor offense can negatively impact your life in the following ways:
- Certain employers or companies will have policies that neither encourage nor allow the hiring of applicants with criminal records. Prior to making a hire, employers may perform background checks on job applicants. A criminal record can deter a good employer from choosing you over other applicants.
- College admissions. Many colleges and universities have strict admission requirements, including policies against past infractions and criminal charges. A misdemeanor offense can also affect your chances at scholarships or college funding from third-party institutions.
- Professional licensing. If you are a licensed professional, a misdemeanor offense may affect your ability to hold on to your license. Certain professions, such as teaching and nursing, require their professionals to uphold ethical practices at all times. Regulatory boards also require licensed professionals to uphold integrity and honesty outside their practice at all times.
- Social limitations. A past misdemeanor offense can brand you as an irresponsible individual who has no respect for the law. There are even instances where past offenders are denied residency at a rental place due to their previous infractions.
- A misdemeanor can significantly affect those who have yet to receive their citizenship or residency status.
How Can a Fake ID Lawyer Help You with Your Case in South Carolina?
Not everyone with a fake ID charge will hire a criminal defense lawyer. For some, they will think getting the services of a fake ID lawyer is both needless and expensive. While it’s true that hiring a committed criminal defense lawyer will involve fees, doing so comes with practical benefits.
The many ways in which a fake ID lawyer in Clemson, SC can help include the following:
- Verify the legitimacy and fairness of your arrest.
An unlawful arrest that does not follow proper protocol can work in your defense. Your criminal defense lawyer can look into the procedures of the arrest or the seizure of cards and licenses. While this may not necessarily invalidate the charges, it can help in negotiation or settlement discussions. Without your fake ID lawyer’s counsel, you may not be able to consider these factors on your own.
- Representation in administrative meetings or court hearings.
A fake ID charge can either land you with an administrative sanction or a misdemeanor offense. The outcome may depend on where the arrest took place and whether there are other offenses involved. However, any statement which you give to the authorities could incriminate you further. This is why it’s always better to have your fake ID lawyer speak on your behalf. Your lawyer may also represent you during hearings, so you don’t have to miss out on school or work.
- Negotiate for a lighter sentence or penalty.
A committed lawyer can be gifted with exceptional negotiation skills. Your attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf, improving your chances for a lighter penalty or sentencing.
- Provide legal advice/services on other offenses.
There are instances where a fake ID charge is coupled with other charges, such as underage drinking. If this is the case, you could face harsher penalties. Your fake ID lawyer can help you not only in minimizing your penalties. They can also analyze and work on possible defenses for multiple charges.
Qualities to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When it comes to criminal defense, you need a legal counsel equipped with the necessary time, focus, and resources. SC laws clearly categorize the possession of a counterfeit ID as misdemeanor offense. Some people may take this lightly.
However, a criminal record can affect your personal and professional life in more ways than one. This is why hiring a good lawyer comes first.
Before you hire any criminal defense attorney, however, some essential qualities are worth looking into.
- Updated knowledge of SC laws. Not all states will treat the same offense in the same way. If you’re facing charges in Clemson, South Carolina, then the laws of the state will prevail. Your lawyer should be both knowledgeable of and up to date with the present laws of South Carolina.
- Negotiation skills. You may be tempted to plead guilty immediately, given that a counterfeit ID charge is simply a misdemeanor. However, even a misdemeanor charge goes on your criminal record. The lawyer you choose should possess excellent negotiation skills. These skills help you to obtain a lighter sentence. The courts may also lower huge penalties related to the offense.
- When it comes to dealing with any possible criminal charge, the commitment of your lawyer is always crucial. Your attorney will have to look into your case, examine the facts against you, and formulate a good defense. It is also vital for your lawyer to be available during court hearings and during settlement/negotiation discussions.
If you must work with a public defender, make sure that person can devote time to your case. Most public defenders deal with numerous caseloads at a time. This means they may not always be able to devote time to you and your counterfeit ID possession charges.
Get in Touch with the Bateman Firm for your Fake ID Charges in South Carolina
If you are dealing with a fake ID charge, getting the right defense on your case can be challenging. You have the option to represent yourself but doing so can place the outcome of your case at risk. This is critical, especially if you don’t have the courtroom skills of a fake ID lawyer in Clemson, SC.
Although possession of a forged ID card is a misdemeanor, it can have lasting effects on your reputation. It can significantly affect your standing in school as well as your current and future employment. This is why you cannot discount the help of a criminal defense lawyer in South Carolina at this time. Don’t let your fake ID charges in Clemson, SC define your identity for good. A committed criminal defense lawyer can negotiate a lighter penalty for you. Work with a fake ID lawyer at the Bateman Firm today.