Whether it’s beer or harder liquor, a lot of minors are drawn to the forbidden fruit of alcohol. There can be a lot of peer pressure to drink alcohol to fit into social groups, but with the government increasingly tightening rules designed to prevent underage drinkers from obtaining alcohol, teens sometimes turn to using false identification.
When a minor uses a fake ID to try to enter a bar or to buy alcohol from a convenience store or liquor store, the minor can end up in a lot of trouble. An underage person can be charged with a crime, or end up in the juvenile system if he or she is under 18. The consequences can stay on the minor’s record for years to come and affect his or her future education or employment.
However, a criminal offense doesn’t have to derail a juvenile’s life when he or she has the help of an experienced Ohio juvenile criminal attorney. A skilled attorney can defend a juvenile be a voice for the minor’s best interests in court. A lawyer may be able to get the matter dismissed, or convince a court that the juvenile should be allowed to perform community service, probation, or another alternative to detention.
General Penalties for Using a Fake ID
Ohio Rev. Code 4301.634 prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from knowingly using false information about their name, age, or other identification to obtain alcohol. The offense is a 1st degree misdemeanor crime, and the punishments for someone ages 18 to 21 include:
- 1st Offense — Up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $250 to $1,000.
- 2nd Offense — Up to 6 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and a driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year.
- 3rd or Subsequent Offense — Up to 6 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and a driver’s license suspension for 3 months to 2 years.
Ohio Rev. Code 4301.99 allows a court to order your license suspended until you turn 21. The statute also allows a court to order you to perform community service instead of suspending your driver’s license.
The help of an experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable in convincing a court to allow you to perform community service if you want to keep your driver’s license. A good lawyer can present the evidence and arguments that might sway a judge to treat you more leniently.
Juvenile Penalties for Using a Fake ID
For a juvenile under age 18, the penalties can work a little differently. When a juvenile is caught using a fake ID to obtain alcohol, the case goes to an Ohio juvenile court. Juvenile courts are structured differently than adult courts. The goal of a juvenile court is to rehabilitate rather than punish a juvenile, so the outcomes can be different than if the offense were committed by someone over 18 who is then prosecuted in an adult criminal court.
When your child or teenager is arrested for using false identification to obtain alcohol, he or she may be charged in a juvenile court. Using a fake ID to obtain alcohol is what is known as a status offense in the juvenile system. A status offense is one that is only an offense because of the person’s age. In this case, Ohio rev. Code 4301.634 specifically defines an offense of furnishing false information to obtain alcohol by a person under 21.
When the false identification charge proceeds in juvenile court, the juvenile will still have to enter a plea just as if he or she was charged in an adult criminal court. There will be a series of hearings in which the juvenile court will consider evidence and testimony to make a decision whether the juvenile is guilty of using a fake ID to obtain alcohol.
If the court determines that the juvenile did use a fake ID, then the juvenile may be sentenced to detention in a youth facility, but more often the court will consider one of several alternatives that are designed to give the juvenile a chance at straightening up and avoiding future trouble. Some possible sentencing alternatives for juveniles may include:
- Community service
- Alcohol, substance abuse, or mental health treatment
- Placement in foster care
- Home detention
Compassionate Representation for Cincinnati Juvenile Offenses
A skilled Cincinnati juvenile criminal lawyer can play an important role in determining the outcome of your child’s case. An attorney can be your child’s advocate in court, and a strong voice to recommend an outcome that is in your child’s best interest. An attorney’s role is to represent your child and work to resolve your child’s case in a way that protects your child’s future. If your juvenile needs resources, such as alcohol abuse treatment, a lawyer can help your child get the help and support he or she needs.