Texas Fake ID Laws

Fake IDs are an unfortunately common method for people to try and pass themselves off as an age or individual whom they are not, usually to conduct activities they can’t do legally. One of the most widespread uses of fake IDs is for college students and minors who wish to purchase alcohol underage, but there are many other circumstances where individuals use fake identification.

However, what many people who use fake IDs do not realize is that merely possessing a fake identification card or certificate is a crime under Texas law. Aside from the penalties for purchasing alcohol and drinking under the legal age, fake IDs have their own set of potentially serious consequences.

What Actions Can Lead to Fake ID Violations?

Numerous actions can become fake ID violations. One route is purchasing a fake ID online, a common practice among many college students. Another is the attempt to forge one’s birth date on a license or to falsify documents when obtaining identification. Even borrowing the ID of a sibling or friend who looks similar constitutes as false identification by misrepresentation of age. The exact possession and use of false identification will determine the classification of the crime and its penalty.

Possession of Fake Driver’s License or ID in Texas

Texas law prohibits several scenarios related to false identification, including possession and providing false information when applying for an ID card. The statute outlines several scenarios, including:

  • Knowingly displaying or possessing a fictitious or altered ID
  • Lending an ID to another individual
  • Displaying another’s ID as his or her own
  • Providing false information or documents when applying or renewing an ID

Any of those violations is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $4000 in fines.

Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor

Any form of misrepresentation of age by a minor with the intent of claiming to be 21 years old or older to purchase alcohol is a violation of the law, including the presentation of false documents. This crime is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. In Texas this is the most common offense involving a fake ID.

Possession of a Fake License or Certificate

Even if you do not use your fake ID to commit misrepresentation of age, it is still illegal to possess any form of fictitious ID that is “deceptively similar” to an official ID. However, there is an exception to possession of such IDs if they have the statement “Not a Government Document” printed diagonally on both sides in red capital letters. Violating this statute is also a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines.

Tampering With a Government Record

If your ID is a legal document that you have attempted to alter, then you have committed the crime of tampering with a government record. This can include:

  • Knowingly making a false change to a government record
  • Knowingly presenting a fake document
  • Intentionally damaging the legibility of the record
  • Possessing or selling an official government document for an illegal use or knowing that it has been obtained illegally
  • Knowingly making or using false documents

Under Texas law the most serious false ID crime, tampering with a government record, is a third-degree felony. Penalties can include imprisonment for two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Aside from the penalties imposed by Texas law, college students can also face additional academic consequences if caught using a false ID. Ordering a fake form of identification online can put you at risk for identity theft. With the serious consequences of false ID crimes in Texas, it’s not worth the risk.