Many college-aged people have some form of a fake ID to gain access to bars or buy alcohol while underage. Fake ID criminal charges in Michigan are sometimes called altered ID, altered identification, and false unlawful use or display of license. Some IDs are ones that have other peoples’ information and are fake in every way. Other kinds are the ones that are purchased over the internet or made by hand using a real photograph or even name. Some IDs are real IDs, but the ID is someone else’s ID. All of these situations are problematic in Michigan, especially Ann Arbor where the UMPD, AAPD, Washtenaw County Sheriff, and State Police take it very seriously.
Typical ways people get in trouble for having a Fake ID in Ann Arbor
The first way that people get in trouble for a Fake ID or Altered ID in Ann Arbor is that they try to go to a bar or liquor store while using an ID that isn’t theirs or has false information. Sometimes there is a bouncer present, and sometimes police officers are at the bar and look for people who are drunk and/or young looking.
Another way is that a person does something that attracts a police officer. The police officer investigates and sees a fake ID. People commonly use pockets on their cellphones. If the fake or altered ID is on the outside part of the pocket, then the police can see it. If they see it, then you may have an issue.
Lastly, I’ve seen situations where an officer sees the fake ID in your wallet when you are giving them your real ID for a different situation. The officer asks about the ID, and then that leads to misdemeanor criminal charges for possession of a Fake ID/Altered ID.
I got a ticket, but wasn’t brought to the police station, is that different than being arrested?
Unfortunately, a ticket for using or possessing a fake ID is that same as getting arrested and brought to the station. Some would say that you were arrested, but released at the scene. If you were issued a ticket for using a fake ID, then you were charged with a misdemeanor crime and you should consult with a local attorney because they know how to navigate the system. An out-of-town attorney, may do more harm then good and even overcharge you.
Does it matter who makes the arrest or writes the misdemeanor ticket for having a Fake or Altered ID?
Yes, Ann Arbor Police Department generally writes most of these misdemeanor tickets for use or possession of a fake or altered ID in Ann Arbor. Sometimes they write the misdemeanor ticket using the Ann Arbor City Code. If that happens, then you may have options because your case will be determined by the Ann Arbor City Attorney’s office. The City of Ann Arbor prosecutes differently than the Washtenaw County Prosecutor.
Here is a link for Section 9:84 of the Ann Arbor City Code: https://library.municode.com/mi/ann_arbor/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIXPORE_CH109LI_9_84FUUSFAID
If you are arrested or ticketed by the UMPD, Washtenaw County Sheriff, State Police, then state law applies and the ticket would be sent to the County Prosecutor’s office. The County Prosecutor generally handles these situations differently than the City, which is why its important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you.
Here is a link for MCL 257.324 which is the State of Michigan’s law on Fake IDs: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(lzngxohsip2gbewlsbvfhoru))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-257-324
There are many more issues when it comes to getting in trouble for using or having a Fake ID, drinking in public also known as open intox, having noisy parties, littering, among other situations.
Here is a detailed article I wrote about open intox as this is a common charge in Ann Arbor: http://hermanowskilaw.com/open-intox-ann-arbor/
If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in Ann Arbor, Michigan, then call me for a free consultation. I will help you understand your options so you could make an educated decision on how you can move forward. I am routinely in the Washtenaw County Courts and understand how to navigate the system. It is not unusual for me to be the 15th District Court 3 to 4 times a week during the fall. Be careful about attorneys who pressure or scare you into hiring them. If they are scaring you, then they are doing you a disservice. The reality is that very few people go to jail over a case like this, and many times a first offenders have a good chance at avoiding a conviction. This of course depends on your situation. Call me at (734) 887-6079 for a free consultation.
*If you are student at the University of Michigan, then contact Student Legal Services. They will represent you for no cost and deal with these cases more than anyone else. Here is their link: https://studentlegalservices.umich.edu/
Here is a link to look up your case in the Ann Arbor 15th District Court. If you are arrested somewhere else, then please contact that court. https://www.a2gov.org/departments/15D/online-services/pages/case-search.aspx