Fake ID/Misrepresentation of Age in Washington, DC
It is illegal in D.C. to misrepresent one’s age or to possess a false ID card in order to buy, possess or drink an alcoholic beverage. Specifically, 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. 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).
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 3 to 6 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).
The False ID/Misrepresentation of Age statute also 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).
Although False ID/Misrepresentation of Age 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 one’s record. A person charged with this offense should therefore consult a good attorney with experience in this area. Jamison Koehler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.