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Fake IDs: What really are the consequences when you try to use your fake identification card to get into that bar?

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Arriving at college, students receive a sense of independence that leaves them making daily decisions affecting their academic and social lives. In order to make new friends and become more integrated into the newly entered environment, many students turn to drinking as a social activity.

According to Villanova University, 80 percent of college students consume alcohol. With many students being underage, some obtain a fraudulent ID or sneak into bars underage in order to join the nightlife of the college community or spend time with new friends that happen to be older. However, with strict policy enforcement and consequences for being caught underage drinking, students might want to reconsider their social choices.

In 1984, the United States changed the federal age for purchasing and possessing alcohol from 18 to 21. With this change came the demand for fraudulent IDs. In a study titled “Fake ID Ownership and Heavy Drinking in Underage College Students: Prospective Findings” published by the National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI), 89 percent of freshmen and sophomore students reported that alcohol was easy to obtain on their campus. Along with this, about 32 percent of sophomores reported having used a fake ID to obtain alcohol.

Two anonymous Carthage students share similar experiences with their fake IDs, reporting that it was convenient to have in order to spend time with their friends that were 21. One student reported passing an ID scan at a local bar from a Kenosha Police Officer helped increase their awareness of the consequences of carrying a fraudulent ID. While at times it might seem like a fun way to spend time with friends, there is always a risk.

Along with the knowledge of consequences is an understanding of safety wherever drinking is involved. “I think that underage drinking could be detrimental if you’re not in a safe environment and do not have friends to watch over you. It’s important to know your limits when drinking,” said a Carthage student.

One thing is for sure, getting caught with a Fake ID carries stiff penalties/ fines no matter what state you live in. Specifically looking at the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin is no exception. In an interview with Sergeant DeMario of the Kenosha Police Department’s Tavern Unit, he spoke about how the city of Kenosha adopted an ordinance from the Wisconsin State Law that allows the city to charge underage people for numerous alcohol related offenses.

According to Chapter 10 of Kenosha’s Code of General Ordinances, getting caught with a Fake ID in the city of Kenosha carries a minimum city ordinance violation penalty of $187 for Possession of a Fake ID. A minimum $376 Underage person Loitering on a Licensed Premise city ordinance violation is also added to the Fake ID city ordinance.

Not only are there fines for having a fake ID, but there are also stiff punishments for underage drinking in Kenosha. If an underage person is inside of a licensed establishment, that individual will receive an underage drinking citation by the city of Kenosha which starts off at $180 for a first offense and increases for additional offenses.

In addition to the city ordinance tickets from the Kenosha Police Department, an Illinois resident will have more penalties on top of original charges from Wisconsin. According to the Identification Card Act stated on illinois.gov, The Secretary of State in Illinois carries a minimum one year Driver’s License Suspension if found guilty of having a fraudulent ID, or if convicted in any state with equal charges. With that being just the minimum penalty, possessing a fake ID or someone else’s ID could result in one year of jail time, a conviction of a Class A Misdemeanor, $2,500 in fines or community service.

The primary reason for strict policies of fraudulent IDs is due to the severe penalties the local establishment can receive for having minors on the property. “Underage people will to try go to have a good time with their friends at a bar but will not think of consequences on that bar if caught with an underage person inside,” said DeMario. “The bar can be charged thousands of dollars in fines as well as lose their liquor license if enough underage people are caught on the premise during a specific time period.”

Licensed premises are granted 100 points for every 730 days. If the licensed premise exceeds these points, they are immediately put in front of the License Hearing Committee for a hearing and will be ticketed further or have their liquor license revoked.

In Kenosha, the Kenosha Police Department has developed a specific unit to patrol bars in the city. Sergeant DeMario explained how the Tavern Unit’s purpose is to enforce the local and state laws at licensed premises in the City of Kenosha, ensure the safety of the people who are present, and to be alert for underage people on the premises. With these units patrolling bars in the City of Kenosha, it is definitely wise to not use a fraudulent ID to enter bars in the city of Kenosha before the legal age of 21 years.

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