"Fake Identification" Laws in Nevada
(NRS 205.460 - 205.465)

It is illegal in Nevada to sell or possess fake Identification for fraudulent purposes. Depending on the case, penalties range from a small fine to several years in Nevada State Prison

There are various strategies to defend against fake ID charges, including (1) the defendant had no fraudulent intent, and (2) the police found the fake ID through an illegal search.

It may be possible to seal fake ID convictions from the defendant's record after one, two or five years depending on the seriousness of the case. And non-U.S. citizens charged with a fake ID crime may face deportation if they get convicted.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about the definition, defenses, penalties, record sealing wait times, and immigration consequences of fake ID offenses in Nevada.  Click on a topic to jump to that section:

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1. What are fake IDs in Las Vegas, NV?

Nevada's legal definition of fake IDs 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."1

In short, it is illegal for someone to have or sell any form of personal identification in order to pass him/herself or another person off as someone he/she is 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 21 years old;
  • 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; or
  • A dealer selling or distributing fake IDs to other people

Nevada courts may infer that a defendant who is caught with identification information for five (5) 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.2

2. How do I fight fake ID charges in Las Vegas, NV?

Various defenses exist which a defense attorney may use to fight a Nevada fake ID charge. The following are two of the most common.

  1. No intention to trick anyone.  Perhaps the defendant received the fake ID as a gag gift, or perhaps the defendant never intended for anyone else to see it. Either way, a person is not liable if he/she did not mean to use the ID for the purpose of establishing a false status and deceiving others.3
  2. 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, the defense attorney may file a motion to suppress asking the judge to throw out any evidence (such as a fake ID) found in the course of an unlawful search. If the judge agrees, the entire charge may be dropped for lack of proof.

Note that prosecutors have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before a defendant may be convicted at trial. The defense attorney's job is to try to show the prosecutor that their evidence is too insufficient, inaccurate, or unreliable to sustain a guilty verdict. If the prosecutor realizes its case is too weak, the prosecutor may agree to reduce the charge or even dismiss it.

3. Can I go to jail for a fake ID in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Possibly, though the D.A. may be willing to plea bargain the sentence down to just a fine. The punishment for violating Nevada fake ID laws depends on (1) whether the defendant merely possessed or tried to sell the fake ID, and (2) the defendant's purpose in having the fake ID:

3.1. Possessing fake ID penalties

If the sole purpose of possessing the fake ID is to make the holder appear old enough to gamble, drink or buy cigarettes, then the defendant faces a Nevada misdemeanor charge, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines4

Possessing false identification for the purpose of forgery, debit or credit card fraud, or online fraud is a category C felony, carrying:

  • one to ten (1 - 10) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine

Otherwise, possessing an ID for the purpose of establishing a fake identity is a category E felony. The judge typically just orders probation in lieu of incarceration, but the maximum penalties are:

  • one to four (1 - 4) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine5

3.2. Selling or transferring fake ID penalties

Selling or giving away a fake ID in Nevada for the sole purpose of establishing a false age of 21 or older in order to drink, gamble or buy cigarettes is a gross misdemeanor.  The sentence includes:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines6

Meanwhile, it is a category B felony in Nevada 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 (5) 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 for the above includes:

  • one to twenty (1 - 20) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • fines of up to $100,000

Otherwise, selling or transferring identification information for the purpose of establishing a false identity is a category C felony, carrying

  • one to ten (1 - 10) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine7

Remember that depending on the circumstances, Nevada fake ID charges may be prosecuted in conjunction with related crimes such as credit card fraud, ID theft, false impersonation, and health insurance fraud.

4. Can I get a fake ID case sealed in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Yes, though the waiting period to get a record seal depends on which category of crime the defendant was convicted of. Note that Nevada fake ID cases that get dismissed (meaning there is no conviction) may be sealed right away.8

  • Misdemeanor fake ID convictions may be sealed one (1) year after the case ends.
  • Gross misdemeanor fake ID convictions may be sealed two (2) years after the case ends.
  • Category E felony fake ID convictions may be sealed two (2) years after the case ends.
  • Category C felony fake ID convictions may be sealed five (5) years after the case ends.
  • Category B felony fake ID convictions may be sealed five (5) years after the case ends.9

Anyone with a Nevada criminal record should take measures to seal it as soon as possible. Potential employers who see it on a background check may assume the person is dishonest and decline to hire him/her.

5. Can I get deported for a fake ID in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Aliens convicted of a fake ID crime in Nevada may be deported because the offense involves fraud.11 Therefore non-citizens prosecuted for a criminal defense should retain counsel right away to try to get the charge dismissed or changed to a non-deportable offense. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada

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Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

If after reading this you would like to discuss your situation with our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers, call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Whether through negotiation or litigation, we will 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.

Legal References:

  1. NRS 205.465.
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. NRS 205.460.
  5. NRS 205.465.
  6. NRS 205.460.
  7. NRS 205.465.
  8. NRS 205.465.
  9. NRS 179.255.
  10. NRS 179.245.
  11. 8 USC § 1227.

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