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Possession of a Fake ID

The legal drinking age in Iowa is 21 and if you’d like to possess or purchase tobacco, nicotine or any type of vape product you must be at least 18 years old. In order to avoid these rules, minors and underaged people may attempt to use a fake I.D. The I.D. may belong to someone else who looks similar to the underaged person or it may be unlawfully created by another person in their home using a laminating machine.

Regardless of how the I.D. was obtained, if officers discover it wasn’t lawfully issued to you, you’ll face criminal charges. That is why it’s imperative you seek legal representation as soon as possible if you’ve been arrested for possessing or using a fake I.D. An attorney can collect evidence and build a defense designed to dismantle the prosecution’s argument. With their help, you may be able to obtain reduced charges or have them dismissed entirely.

Des Moines Fake ID Attorney| Defense Lawyer in Iowa

If you or someone you know has been arrested for possessing or using a fake I.D., contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our attorneys on staff at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are by no means rookies and have decades of experience to fall back on. They’ve faced every challenge in the book, so you can count on them being prepared for any argument the prosecution throws at them. Plus, we treat all our clients with the utmost respect and compassion. We understand how stressful this situation can be and want to do everything possible to ease your worries and preserve your future.

Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation free of charge. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is located in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout the greater Des Moines, Polk County and Dallas County area including Minburn, De Soto, Windsor Heights, Adel, Polk City, Alleman, Runnells, Altoona, and Waukee.

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Getting Caught with a Fake ID

In most situations, a fake I.D. is used by young people in order to obtain alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or vape products. However, this isn’t the only scenario in which a fake I.D. may be used. Some people utilize fake I.D.s to commit other crimes such as bank fraud, check fraud, identity theft, or to access a restricted area. In some cases, a person will utilize another’s personal identifying information so they can create a fake I.D. to use themselves.

Under the Iowa Code, there is no singular statute for possession of a fake I.D. Instead, the State has multiple statutes in which a person can be charged under depending on the facts of the case. To learn more about fake I.D. crimes in the state of Iowa, read below.

Falsifying Fake Documents

A personal identification card such as a passport is technically a public government document. According to Section 718.5 of the Iowa Code, the elements of the crime are as follows:

  • Any person, with no right or authority to do so:
    • Makes or alters any public document; or
    • Makes or alters any instrument which purports to be a public document; or
    • Possesses a seal or counterfeit seal of the state or any of its subdivisions

Falsifying Driver’s Licenses

The State of Iowa has a specific statute to address falsifying driver’s licenses under Section 321.216A. The statute states a person is guilty of falsifying a driver’s license, nonoperator’s identification cards, and/or forms if they do one of the following:

  • Create a driver’s license, a nonoperator vehicle identification card, or a blank driver’s license form and the person has no authority to make a card, license or form
  • Possess, obtain or have in the person’s control or on the person’s premises a driver’s license, or nonoperator’s identification card forms
  • Possess, obtain or have in the person’s control or on the person’s premises a driver’s license, nonoperator identification card, or a blank driver’s license or nonoperator identification card form, which was made by a person who had no authority to do so
  • Use a false or fictious name to apply for a driver’s license or nonoperator’s identification card, knowingly make a false statement to receive one, or conceal material fact and/or otherwise commit fraud on the application

Use of a Driver’s License by Underaged Person for Alcohol

In Iowa, there is a statute reserved for underaged people using fake I.D.s to obtain alcohol. The statue is under Section 321.216B of the Iowa Code as “Use of a Driver’s License or Nonoperator’s Identification Card by Underage Person to Obtain Alcohol.” According to the statute, you’re guilty of the crime if:

  • You’re under the age of 21 and:
    • You’ve altered or displayed a fictitious or fraudulently altered driver’s license or nonoperational card; or
    • Have in your possession a fictious or fraudulently altered driver’s license or nonoperational card; and
  • Used the card to violate or attempt to violate Iowa’s drinking laws under Section 123.47

Unlawful Use of a License

Unlawfully using a license such as giving the I.D. to another person so they can obtain alcohol illegally is also considered a law violation under the Iowa Code. Section 321.216 states you may be charged with unlawful use of a driver’s license if:

  • You display or cause or permit to be displayed or have in your possession a revoked, suspended, fictitious, canceled, or fraudulently altered driver’s license or nonoperator’s identification card
  • Lend your driver’s license to another person or knowingly permit the use of your license by another person
  • Displays a driver’s license you purport as your own when you know it belongs to someone else
  • Fail or refuse to surrender upon lawful demand a driver’s license or nonoperator card that was cancelled, revoked, or suspended
  • Permit unlawful use of a driver’s license issued to you

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Is Having a Fake ID a Felony?

In some cases, having a fake I.D. can result in felony charges. The penalty for possessing or using a fake I.D. will depend on what section of the Iowa Code you violated. Listed below are the consequences for the various fake I.D. crimes listed under the established Iowa statutes.

  • Use of Driver’s License by Underaged Person – Simple Misdemeanor
    • Up to 30 days in jail
    • A fine of up to $625
  • Unlawful Use of a Driver’s License – Simple Misdemeanor
    • Up to 30 days in jail
    • A fine of up to $625
  • Falsifying a Driver’s License – Serious Misdemeanor
    • Up to 12 months in jail
    • A fine of up to $1,875
  • Falsifying Public Documents – Class D felony
    • Up to 5 years in prison
    • A fine of up to $7,500

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Additional Resources

Fake ID Information | The University of Iowa – Visit the official website for the University of Iowa to learn more about fake I.D. laws in the state. Access the site to get answers to your frequently asked questions such as what the criminal and administrative penalties for are possessing a fake I.D.

Fake I.D. Laws in Iowa – Visit the official website for the Iowa Code to read Chapter 321 for Motor Vehicles and Law of the Road. Access the site to read the various statutes involving fake I.D.’s, the penalties for having a fake I.D., and other related offenses.


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Des Moines Lawyer for Possession of a Fake I.D. | Iowa

If you or someone you know has been arrested for possessing, creating or unlawfully using a driver’s license, call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we understand people, especially young adults, make mistakes and that shouldn’t cost them their future. We can act as your legal guides through this process and do everything possible to help you get the second chance you deserve.

Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to schedule your first consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in the Des Moines area. We also accept clients in the greater Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa area.


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