Nov 102005
Authors: Kristen Majors

Some people just can't wait to turn 21 and may see acquiring a fake ID as a simple solution to that dilemma.

Cpl. Veronica Olivas of the CSU Police Department said the main reasons someone uses a fraudulent ID or one not belonging to them is for alcohol use and identity theft.

Most crimes involving a false ID are misdemeanors, such as possession of a fake ID and possession of someone else's identifying information; however, criminal impersonation is a felony.

"If you acted in some way that would create criminal liability for someone else, that would be criminal impersonation," Olivas said .

For a misdemeanor crime, police issue a ticket, and the offender could go to jail. For a felony, a person faces a fine and prison time.

Brandon Howard, head of security at Washington's Bar and Grill, said he confiscated 93 fake IDs in the last 24 weeks.

"Basically, any bar has the right to confiscate an ID for any reason. They get to turn it in to Fort Collins Police (Sevices)," he said. "It's a $2,500 fine for impersonating someone else. I don't have to get mean or nasty or anything. I just pick it up and look at it and say 'Sorry, this isn't real.' There's no amount of money they can pay me to get it back."

Howard worked at a major nightclub in San Diego and checked about 4,000 IDs every weekend. Confident in his ability to recognize fraudulent IDs, he teaches the doormen at Washington's what to look for.

However, everyone makes mistakes, and Howard said he incorrectly judged one out of the last 93 IDs he confiscated. If a doorman at a bar falsely confiscates an ID, the customer has the right to call the police, who come to the bar and double-check the information. If valid, the bar returns it to the customer and admits him or her inside.

Olivas said CSU police run into someone with a fake ID on campus at least once a week, and on occasion, cases of individuals printing fake IDs, which is creating fraudulent documents – a felony.

"Any altering of IDs, such as the date of birth, is a crime," she said. "That goes back to being in possession of a fake ID, and the consequence depends on how you're using it."

Senior accounting major Alex Bush bought a fake ID his senior year of high school, and it lasted through his freshman year of college before it was identified as being fraudulent at a convenience store.

"They pretty much just confiscated it," Bush said . "As I was leaving a cop walked in, and I could have gotten a ticket. My girlfriend was with me at the time, and her dad was a state judge, so we got away with it."

Bush bought his ID for $55, a two-for-one special at a novelty ID store in Texas. It had his picture and information on it, but indicated that it was a novelty ID on the back. Bush said the "novelty ID" markings scratched off easily. He used it 30 to 40 times before it was confiscated.

Olivas said the Department of Motor Vehicles changed the format of Colorado drivers' licenses to make simulation more difficult. She also stressed one way to escape harsh punishment after being caught with a fake ID would be to tell the police officer where it was printed.

"We do find out about these," she said. "We had someone in the residence halls once who was printing fake IDs and when we went in there, there was about six students in line holding money to buy one. That is a crime in and of itself."

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