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Unauthorized Possession of a Driver License, Possession of a Fake ID

If you've been caught with a fake ID, there are many different types of charges and punishments. It seems odd that the same "act" can constitute so many different crimes, but its true. So, let's take a tour of how this works.

Often, a charge like this stems from a traffic stop, where eventually, the officer asks for identification. Or, you'll find these charges stemming from bars or nightclubs because let's face it, every nightclub has a few folks in there that snuck in with a fake ID. An arrest for possession of a fake ID is a felony entitled "unauthorized possession of a driver license or identification card." It doesn't seem that serious, but it is. Unauthorized possession of a driver license or identification card comes from Florida Statute 322.212 and this felony carries a maximum of 5 years in prison, 5 years probation, and a $5,000 fine. The misdemeanor version is found at 322.212(5)(b) and it only carries a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Also, there is a misdemeanor available for providing false identification to law enforcement, found in Florida Statute 901.36(1) and it carries a maximum of one year in jail, 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine.

Most cops are going to arrest you for the felony version of this crime, giving you an online mugshot & criminal history for a felony, when there is a misdemeanor option available. The good news is, there are defense attorneys out there that can get this sort of felony dropped, or reduced to a harmless misdemeanor, depending on the facts.

Again, there is a huge difference between the severity of the misdemeanor fake ID charge and the felony fake ID charge.

The law on fake ID's is found in Florida Statute 322.212, and lays out what constitutes a felony, and what constitutes a misdemeanor. So, how do you get a felony, versus a misdemeanor? Basically, if you've taken your very own ID and altered the date of birth, maybe because you're under 21 and now want to be over 21 (for example), that crime is a misdemeanor of the second degree and is punishable by a maximum 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a $500 fine.

In college towns, this is a pretty common for cops to arrest a student on the felony, mugshots online and everything, even though the facts are really just a misdemeanor. The felony charge comes into play when you're in possession of an ID that is not yours at all, or its entirely fake, maybe completely fabricated straight from some's color printer. People do it, and either way, that sort of thing constitutes a felony.

Another way to get the felony is, even if the ID isn't fabricated straight from a color printer, let's say that you borrow your older sister's driver's license in order to get into a club and you're found in possession of that ID. That would be a felony "unauthorized possession of a driver license".

We're also seeing lots of felony charges for this crime with false ID cards concerning immigration, because fake green cards fall under the felony category. Yes, even green cards fall under this felony law.

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