Being caught with a fake New York driver’s license can have terrible consequences. At the least, you will have a court hearing about the charges and attend a separate hearing with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if your license will be suspended for a year if you are cited under the state’s motor vehicle law.
If you are cited for violating New York’s penal law, you may face fines and serious jail time, particularly if this is not your first criminal charge.
Question: What is the penalty for being caught having a fake New York state driver’s license that says you are older than you are?
Answer: The penalties you face in New York for possessing a fake ID depend on the law with which an officer cites you and whether you have a previous criminal history. In New York, an officer who finds you with a fake driver’s license may decide to cite you under Vehicle and Traffic Law 509.
The penalties for this citation lead to a fine between $75 to $300 and imprisonment of up to 15 days. Citation under this law results in a court hearing and a hearing with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, during which it will be determined if your license will be suspended for up to one year.
A police officer could also charge you with possession of a fake driver’s license under New York’s Penal Law 170, which regards Possession of a Forged Instrument. This penal code has three subsections, two of which discuss felony charges. The three classifications in Penal Law 170 are:
- Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor, carries up to a year in jail and relates to convictions for minor forgeries.
- Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree is a Class D felony, can result in up to seven years in prison and relates to possessing fake birth certificates or fake IDs.
- Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree is the most serious and a Class C felony. It can result in up to 15 years in prison and relates to printing fake money, fake stamps and other fake issuances.
A felony conviction stays on your record forever and may impact your ability to obtain the types of jobs that you want in the future.
Are there other consequences for having a fake ID in New York?
New York police officers are trained to recognize fake IDs and sometimes go undercover at concert values as part of a sting. These sting operations do result in the seizure of fake IDs and citations that are given to individuals who violate Alcohol Beverage and Control Laws. For example, in 2019, in New York, 918 fake IDs were seized, an increase from 829 in 2018, according to a press release on the New York Department of Motor Vehicle website.
If you use a fake ID with someone else’s real name and address on it, you also can be charged with the crime of impersonation, a misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in jail. This charge can be in addition to the other charges that a police officer can cite you for in New York.
Borrowing or using someone else’s identification also can result in penalties for both of you. In short, the penalties you can face for having a fake New York driver’s license depend upon the offense you’re cited for by law enforcement and whether or not you have a prior criminal history.
To get information on how your local police and courts deal with individuals who are found with fake identification, you can contact your local district attorney’s office. You can also contact the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles to see how a fake driver’s license may impact your driving record and driving privileges.
— Michelle Megna contributed to this story
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “Governor Cuomo Announces Historic Crackdown in Underage Drinking in 2019.” Accessed January 2023.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws. “Sec. 509 Violations.” Accessed January 2023.
Rosenblum Law. “Caught with a Fake ID in New York.” Accessed January 2023.
Saland Law. “New York Fake ID Crimes: FAQs.” Accessed January 2023.
Traffic Lawyer Blog – Michael J. Palumbo, Esq. “More on Possession of a Fake ID Driver’s License in New York State.” Accessed January 2023.