By Christina Giruzzi and Ashley Reeves
Many people view drinking in college as a rite of passage. A college town like Brockport is bound to be filled with fake IDs that allow underage kids to purchase or consume alcohol. This is becoming an issue that causes trouble for consumers and business owners.
The village of Brockport’s Police Department has been focusing on catching those who use fake IDs. The Brockport police department works together with the New York State DMV to offer workshops for business owners on how to identify fake IDs and they also utilize undercover cops and DMV investigators. The police department often has undercover cops strategically placed where fake IDs may be used.
Robert Hagen is a sergeant with the Brockport Police Department. Over his time spent working on the force, Hagen has seen many issues surrounding fake IDs.
“One of the most common [issue] is being under the age of 21 and having the ability to purchase alcohol or gain entry into an establishment that serves alcohol. It fuels a plethora of other problems such as quality of life issues in the community, health and safety issues and legal consequences. All of which would be exponentially less if someone with a fake ID did not supply someone under age with alcohol or gain admittance to an establishment to consume alcohol.” Hagen said.
Besides legal and financial consequences in the court system, the New York State DMV can suspend one’s actual NYS driver’s license as well if they are found to be using a fake ID. A police officer has the option to cite an individual under the vehicle and traffic law, or the penal law.
Barbers Grill and Taproombartender and bouncer, Reese Michaels, has dealt with a good amount of fake IDs at one of the few bars open in Brockport.
“I’d say about 10% of IDs that I look at are fake.” Michaels said.
Determining the legitimacy of an ID has become a huge issue in denying underage kids. Fake IDs are able to scan under an ID scanner, and most of them are replicated almost perfectly to an actual state issued ID.
“It’s more of looking at the persons confidence when they hand you it, rather than every single detail of an ID. When someone hands you an out of state ID, it has a sticker over it and that’s pretty easy to notice, but [for NYS IDs] they’re harder to catch. When they divert eye contact or don’t seem confident it’s almost a guaranteed fake.” said Michaels.
A big issue that comes with fake IDs is the type of ID that is used. There are two different ways for an underaged drinker to obtain a fake ID. One is to have an ID be created completely from scratch, which is usually a sticker on top of a piece of plastic to replicate a state issued ID. This is considered a fake ID. The other type of ID an underaged drinker can use is a real state issued ID from a friend who looks similar to themselves. This is considered a look-alike ID.
With what today’s technology has to offer, all IDs are typically able to scan under an ID scanner which allows underage kids to slip through security.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year and people aged 12 to 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. There are many consequences of underaged drinking, including physical problems, mental problems, and legal fines and fees.
In New York State, at the least, any underage person who possessed alcoholic beverages with the intent to consume may be fined $50 and/or be required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or be assigned up to 30 hours of community service. However, when in the possession of a fake ID, these fines and fees increase drastically.
According to New York Criminal Lawyers, the charge for a fake ID is typically Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, which is a class D felony. These can often be punishable by up to seven years in state prison. If a person’s real information is on the fake ID, the person can be charged with Criminal Impersonation, which is punishable by up to one year in jail.
According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, fines can be upwards of $1,000, and probation is a common sentence for fake ID convictions.
Steps are being taken to crack down on underaged drinking. New York State officials, including the Liquor Authority and DMV are working on increasing sweeps of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores in order to put a stop to the use of fake IDs. Smart phone applications are also being created to better detect fake IDs for bouncers and bartenders.
Underaged college student’s “rite of passage” is beginning to crack as colleges and states are working towards keeping kids safe and increasing their quality of life.