POSSESSION OF FALSE IDENTIFICATION
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 470(B)
ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME:
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MUST PROVE TO CONVICT.
Possessing/Displaying a false/altered ID
Simple possession of a false or altered ID on your person or in your belongings is enough to satisfy this element. of the crime. If you are accused of displaying the ID, but not found to be in possession of the ID - then the person to whom you displayed the ID will have to testify
Knowledge of the ID's falsity or alteration
The government must prove that you know the ID was false or altered. Fake IDs that contain the defendant's actual picture, information or address facially satisfy this element of the crime. Proving knowledge of the falsity of the ID can be done either by the Defendant's statements and actions, or circumstantial evidence such as the manner in which you used or attempted to use the fake ID.
Intent to commit fraud
Fraud crimes are specific intent crimes, which means that the government must show you had the specific intent to gain an advantage through deceptive means. Intent can only be shown through circumstantial evidence - unless a defendant admits to their intent. Using a fake ID to buy alcohol, gain entry to a bar/club, or get out of a traffic ticket are all examples of fraud.
COMMON DEFENSES TO
POSSESSION OF A FAKE ID:
HOW A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WILL HELP YOU
NO ACTUAL POSSESSION:
Even if a fake ID has your picture on it, you can avoid a conviction if you are not in possession of the ID. However, possession includes not just your physical person and belongings, but the area around you - so ditching it last second in the trash will not be a defense against possession.
NO KNOWELDGE OF FALSITY
The government must demonstrate that you know the ID you are using is fake. Lack of knowledge of the law is not a defense - rather this element focuses on your knowledge of the ID found in your possession. If you are not in physical possession of the ID you may be able to successfully argue that you had no knowledge of its existence - despite being in an area of dominion.
NO INTENT TO DEFRAUD
Your intent can only be proved by circumstantial evidence, unless you are foolish enough to make statements to the police. By excluding evidence and witness statements, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to eliminate the circumstantial evidence that establishes intent.
PENALTIES AND PUNISHMENT FOR POSSESSION OF A FAKE ID:
May be punished as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Actual punishment depends on each person's criminal history and the facts of their case.
If Punished as a Misdemeanor
Up to $1,000 fine
Up to 1 Year in County Jail
Misdemeanor Summary Probation
If Punished as a Felony
Up to $10,000 fine
Up to 3 Years in County Jail
Felony Formal Probation
San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer
The majority of criminal cases involving fake IDs are not simply students trying to have a beer, rather they involve hardworking parents who are simply trying to work a job in order to feed their family and they rely on false identification in order to obtain that job. We are sympathetic to your plight and the effects of our byzantine legal system. Criminal defense lawyer Nicholas J. Moore is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is an attorney who will fight tooth and nail to protect your rights, your family and your future. Don't hesitate to give us a call anytime of day for a free consultation as to how San Diego criminal defense attorney Nicholas J. Moore can help resolve your legal issue.