California Penal Code 529.5 PC makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly possess, sell, make, or transfer fake government-issued driver’s licenses or IDs that a reasonable person would presume are real. Depending on the case, the punishment includes fines and/or up to one year in jail.
The text of the law reads:
529.5. (a) Every person who manufactures, sells, offers for sale, or transfers any document, not amounting to counterfeit, purporting to be a government-issued identification card or driver’s license, which by virtue of the wording or appearance thereon could reasonably deceive an ordinary person into believing that it is issued by a government agency, and who knows that the document is not a government-issued document, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
(b) Any person who, having been convicted of a violation of subdivision (a), is subsequently convicted of a violation of subdivision (a), is punishable for the subsequent conviction by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
(c) Any person who possesses a document described in subdivision (a) and who knows that the document is not a government-issued document is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). The misdemeanor fine shall be imposed except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would be served. The court may allow an offender to work off the fine by doing community service. If community service work is not available, the misdemeanor shall be punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), based on the person’s ability to pay.
California Penal Code 529.5 PC makes it a crime for a person to:
- transfer, or
- offer to sell
a document that appears to be a government-issued ID/driver’s license but which the person knows is fake.
Violating PC 529.5 is a misdemeanor, and the specific sentence turns on the facts of the case:
PC 529.5 crime
California misdemeanor penalties
|Possessing, making, selling, offering to sell, or transferring the fake document|| |
|Possessing the fake document|| |
Courts can grant community service in lieu of the fine.1
- California Penal Code 529.5 PC – Possession, manufacture, or sale of documents falsely purporting to be government identification. See, for example: Hale v. County of L.A. (9th Cir. Cal. July 19, 2007), 244 Fed. Appx. 135 (unpublished); People v. Rizo (Cal., 2) 22 Cal. 4th 681.