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A fake ID is not a rite of passage

In a matter of weeks, your child will be heading off to college. Whether that means a short drive to the University of Nebraska or a trip to another state, the thought of your child leaving home may be filling you with a mixture of nostalgia and glee. You likely have your concerns as well.

Certainly, there are countless reasons for you to walk the floor with worry about your child's safety and welfare. Among those concerns may be the possibility that your precious child will find trouble with the law. One of the fastest ways this can happen is if your child tries to buy alcohol with a fake ID.

How serious is it, really?

It's no big deal, right? Everyone does it. You may have played that game yourself when you were in college. There's usually someone on campus who knows someone who can set you up with a convincing ID to get you into a party or bar. No one gets hurt. Actually, getting caught with a fake ID can have serious consequences.

The first problem may begin when someone confronts your child about the ID. Many establishments in college towns expect kids to try to gain entrance, and they may have police posted nearby. If a bouncer or liquor store owner suspects your child's ID is a fake, police will be on hand to make the arrest on the spot.

Penalties for conviction

In most states, a first-offense conviction for using a fake ID to purchase alcohol is a misdemeanor, which means your child will probably not go to jail. However, a conviction is still a conviction, and it will be on your child's record. Additionally, he or she may receive probation, which could jeopardize many of the opportunities that college may offer. Loss of a driver's license for a period of time is also a typical penalty for using a fake ID.

What if your child has mad computer skills and access to a top-notch laminator? If tempted to create his or her own fake ID, the stakes just went up. This act is forgery of a government document, and it is typically not a misdemeanor. A felony conviction may remain on your child's record for years -- maybe for life -- and may eliminate him or her from consideration for many jobs requiring impeccable honesty.

Naturally, you have tried to impress upon your child the need for prudence without smothering the fun right out of the college experience. Fortunately, if your child should end up on the wrong side of a fake ID, you can seek legal advice from a dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorney.

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