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Living in a college town and with advanced technology running rampant, sometimes it seems like a good idea to get a fake ID as an undergrad. You can then go to the bars, buy booze, and feel invincible. However, the penalties for being caught with a fake ID are far worse than any benefits you might think it provides. At some bars, if a bouncer or bartender catches a fake ID, they might just take it and send the minor away. However, the business might call law enforcement and the minor's night might get a lot worse.
It is a violation of a local ordinance to falsify any identification or use any false identification in order to enter or remain or attempt to enter or remain in any place where alcoholic liquor or malt beverages are sold or falsify any identification or use or attempt to use any false identification in order to obtain alcohol or malt beverages or to aid or abet anyone in violating this ordinance. (See Laramie City Ordinance 5.09.640). The penalty for a violation of this law is a fine of up to $750.00.
Wyoming state law prohibits displaying or permitting to be displayed or simply possessing a canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious or fraudulently altered driver 's license, lending your driver's license to any other person or knowingly permitting its use by another person, or displaying or representing as your own any driver's license not issued to you. (See W. S. 31-7-133). Please note that if you permit an unlawful use of your license under Wyoming state law, the Wyoming Department of Transportation can suspend the license of any driver for a period of up to 12 months. (See W. S. 31-7-129).
Another Wyoming state law, W. S. 6-3-615, states that any person who intentionally uses false documents to conceal his true identity in order to obtain access to public resources or services is guilty of a misdemeanor. Punishment includes imprisonment up to 6 months, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
If you are caught with a fake ID by a federal officer, the punishment increases to up to 5 years in prison, a fine, or both. Also, if you are in the business of "producing" fake IDs the punishment under federal law can be up to 15 years in prison. (See 18 USC 1028 (b)(2)(A)).
So, in short, having a fake ID is not worth the headache and perhaps prison time that can occur, just because you wanted to be 21 before your time.
Spring 2012 SAP extern Emily Thomas, a University of Wyoming Law student, wrote this section while under the supervision of the Students' Attorney Program.