Fake ID/Misrepresentation of Age in Washington, DC

It is a criminal offense in Washington, D.C. to misrepresent one’s age or to possess a false identification (ID) card to buy, possess or drink alcohol. 

To speak with an attorney with extensive experience dealing with this type of case, please contact fake ID lawyer Jamison Koehler at 202-549-2374 or jkoehler@koehlerlaw.net.

Everything you need to know about this criminal offense is provided below, including answers to the following questions:

What is fake ID/misrepresentation of age in D.C.?
What is the maximum penalty for fake ID in D.C.
Are there diversion programs for first-time offenders?
Will I need a lawyer?
Will I go to jail?
Will I have a criminal record?
Can I expunge my criminal record?
Will I get kicked out of school?
How will my case be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

What is fake ID/misrepresentation of age in D.C.?

According to D.C. Code § 25-1002, “[n]o person shall falsely represent his or her age, or possess or present proof of age an identification document which is in any way fraudulent, for the purpose of purchasing, possessing, or drinking an alcoholic beverage in the District.”

A person who violates this law can be subject to either criminal or civil penalties. 

What is the maximum penalty for fake ID in D.C.?

A criminal conviction for this misdemeanor offense carries the following penalties:

  • a fine of not more than $300 and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges in the District for a first conviction;
  • a $600 fine and a 180-suspension of driving privileges for a second conviction; and
  • a $1,000 fine and one-year suspension of driving privileges for a third or subsequent conviction.

Failure to pay a fine after being convicted of this offense can result in imprisonment of up to 30 days. See D.C. Code § 25-1002(c)(6).

Are there diversion programs for first-time offenders?

Yes.  First-time and second-time offenders may be eligible for a “diversion program.”  According to such a program, which is written into the statute, the government agrees to postpone prosecution for a period of time (usually 2 to 4 months) to give the person accused of the offense to complete a set of negotiated conditions. Typical of such conditions would be the requirement that the person perform community service, complete an alcohol awareness/education program, and/or pay a small fine. The government agrees to then dismiss the charges once all conditions have been satisfied, and the person does not need to deal with the consequences of a criminal conviction. See D.C. Code § 25-1002(c)(2).

Will I need a lawyer?

Yes.  Although tendering a fake ID or misrepresenting one’s age to buy alcohol is a minor misdemeanor punishable in most cases by no more than a fine and loss of driving privileges, being found guilty of the offense would still result in a criminal conviction on your record. It is therefore important that you hire a lawyer to protect your interests.  If you are unable to afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one to represent you. 

Will I go to jail?

No.  Using a fake ID or misrepresenting your age to obtain alcohol is a misdemeanor criminal offense — and a very minor one at that.  There is also no victim.  It is therefore extremely unlikely that you would ever serve any jail-time after being convicted of this offense.

Will I have a criminal record?

Yes.  All arrests result in a criminal record.  Police will maintain a copy of the police report along with your fingerprints and mug shot.  Notice of the arrest will also be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It is therefore important that you file a motion to expunge your record after the case is dismissed (see below). 

Can I expunge my criminal record?

Yes. The Fake ID/Misrepresentation of Age statute allows a person to file a petition to seal/expunge all records associated with the arrest six months after the case is resolved. This is unlike many other criminal offenses in D.C. in which, absent a showing of actual innocence, the accused must wait at least eight years in the case of most misdemeanor convictions and at least two years in the case of most misdemeanor arrests that are dismissed without conviction. See D.C. Code § 25-1002(c)(4).

Will I get kicked out of school?

It depends.  Each of the many colleges and universities in the D.C. area has a different disciplinary policy with respect to students who are accused of breaking the law. 

How will my case be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

With most bars and restaurants either closed or operating on a restricted basis because of the pandemic, arrests for this offense are way down.  D.C. Superior Court is also closed for most purposes with normal operations not scheduled to begin again until January 15, 2021 at the earliest. 

Last update:  November 21, 2020