It is illegal in Nevada to sell or even possess a fake ID for fraudulent purposes. And not only do the penalties include high fines and even prison time. Potential employers who see it on your background check may assume you're dishonest and therefore decline to hire you.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys have enjoyed great success in getting criminal charges reduced to lesser offenses or dismissed completely. To learn more about Las Vegas fake ID law and how we can help, keep reading.
The legal definition of fake IDs in Las Vegas, Nevada makes it "unlawful for a person to possess, sell or transfer any document or personal identifying information for the purpose of establishing a false status, occupation, membership, license or identity for himself or herself or any other person."
In short, it's illegal to have or sell any form of personal identification in order to pass you or another person off as someone you're not. Typical scenarios that would violate Nevada fake ID law (as well as possibly other Nevada fraud laws) are:
- An underage person using a doctored driver's license that claims he/she is twenty-one
- An undocumented alien using fake naturalization papers in order to get work or other benefits that only legal immigrants are eligible for
- A thief using a counterfeit bankcard in order to access someone else's money
- A dealer selling or distributing fake IDs to other people
Nevada courts may infer that a defendant who's caught with identification information for five or more different people is using that information to violate the law. However, this inference is "rebuttable." This means that the defense attorney may still present evidence to the contrary and that the court may elect to drop the defendant's charges after all.
Various defenses exist which your attorney may use to fight a Nevada fake ID charge. The following are two of the most common.
- You didn't mean to trick anyone. Perhaps you received the fake ID as a gag gift, or perhaps you never intended for anyone else to see it. Either way, you're not liable if you didn't mean to use the ID for the purpose of establishing a false status and deceiving others.
- The police made a mistake. Sometimes the police perform an illegal search in Nevada by not establishing probable cause or by going beyond the bounds of a search warrant. In these cases, your attorney may file a motion to suppress evidence in Las Vegas asking the judge to throw out any evidence (such as a fake ID) found in the course of an illegal search. If the judge agrees, the entire charge may be dropped for lack of proof.
The sentence for violating Las Vegas fake ID laws depends on whether the defendant simply possessed the identification information or tried to sell or give it away:
It is a category C felony in Las Vegas to possess false identification for the purpose of forgery, credit or debit card fraud, or online fraud. The punishment includes one to ten years in Nevada state prison and maybe a $10,000 fine.
If the sole purpose of possessing the fake ID is to make the holder appear old enough to gamble, drink or buy cigarettes, then it's just a misdemeanor in Las Vegas carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Otherwise, possessing an ID for the purpose of establishing a fake identity in Nevada is a category E felony in Las Vegas carrying one to four years in prison. However, it's typical for the judge to grant probation with no prison in these cases.
Selling or Transferring
It is a category B felony in Las Vegas to do any of the following:
- selling or transferring the personal identifying information of a person 60 or older or a vulnerable person, or
- selling or transferring the personal identifying information of five or more persons, or
- causing another person to suffer a financial loss or injury of $3,000 or more as a result of selling or giving away personal identification information.
The penalty includes one to twenty years in Nevada state prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Meanwhile, it's a gross misdemeanor in Las Vegas to sell or give away a fake ID for the sole purpose of establishing a false age of twenty-one or older in order to drink, gamble or buy cigarettes. The sentence includes up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
Otherwise, selling or transferring identification information for the purpose of establishing a false identity is a category C felony in Las Vegas carrying one to ten years in prison an maybe a $10,000 fine.
Remember, depending on the circumstances this offense may be charged in conjunction with other Nevada fraud crimes such as credit card theft, ID theft, health insurance fraud, etc.
Arrested? Call us . . . .
If after reading this you'd like to discuss your situation with our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers, call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Whether through negotiation or litigation, we'll fight to try to win your case and keep your record clean.
To learn more about California fake ID laws, go to our page on Penal Code 470b: California fake ID laws and Vehicle Code 13004: Unlawful acts involving identification cards.