Penalties for Getting Caught with a Fake ID in Massachusetts

Underage drinking represents a significant public health and safety concern. In an effort to curb illegal alcohol consumption, Massachusetts imposes strict laws prohibiting the use and possession of fraudulent identification cards. Both minors and legal-aged individuals face serious criminal and financial penalties if caught using a fake ID in the state. Understanding the legal definition, potential sanctions, and available defenses is crucial for anyone considering obtaining false identification. The consequences can be life-changing, so knowing the risks is critical.

Legal Definition of a Fake ID in Massachusetts

Massachusetts defines a fake ID as any falsified or altered identification card used to unlawfully misrepresent one’s identity or age to purchase alcohol or enter bars or clubs. Common types of fraudulent IDs include:

  • Fake driver’s licenses containing modified birth dates or information to appear older.
  • Real IDs like passports belonging to other individuals used by underage persons.
  • Novelty fake IDs made to look like legitimate government IDs to assume a false identity.
  • Valid out-of-state driver’s licenses belonging to the underage individual but illegal for alcohol purchase in MA.

Merely possessing or using fake identification is considered a criminal offense with serious penalties under Massachusetts state law.

Penalties for Possession and Use of Fake IDs

Both minors and legal adults face criminal charges for possessing or using false identification cards in Massachusetts. Penalties include:

  • Fines up to $200 for first offense, up to $500 for subsequent offenses.
  • Driver’s license suspension by the Massachusetts RMV for up to 1 year.
  • Court-mandated alcohol education program participation.
  • Up to 1 year imprisonment for making, selling, or distributing fake IDs.
  • Permanent criminal record impacting college, employment, housing, and other life prospects.

Beyond the criminal consequences, businesses can also sue individuals for civil monetary damages related to losses from confiscating fake IDs.

Penalties for Underage Individuals

Minors face the same criminal penalties as adults. However, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles imposes additional license suspension by administratively suspending the minor’s driver’s license for 180 days just for possession and 90 days for attempting to purchase alcohol. This is on top of court-ordered license suspensions. Minors may also face school disciplinary actions.

Penalties for Adults

Adults who lend their valid licenses to underage individuals to use as fake ID also face fines up to $500 and jail time up to 1 year. Selling, making, or distributing fake IDs leads to criminal charges. Adults face significant criminal records and possible loss of employment, student aid, public housing, and other privileges.

Defenses Against Fake ID Charges

Those facing fake ID allegations have options to contest the charges. Common defenses include:

  • You lacked knowledge or were unaware the ID was fake.
  • The ID belongs to you and shows your valid personal information.
  • You did not intend for any unlawful use with the ID.
  • You never showed the ID to purchase alcohol or enter a prohibited venue.
  • The fake ID charges constitute entrapment by police officers.

Building an effective defense requires experienced legal counsel to get charges reduced or dismissed where possible under the law.

Hiring a Legal Professional

Fake ID charges can jeopardize your future. The status of having a permanent criminal record and license suspension can be challenging to overcome. Consulting an experienced Massachusetts fake ID lawyer is critical for mounting a strong case. Attorneys have in-depth knowledge of state laws, available defenses, mitigating factors, and plea bargains that may lessen penalties. With so much at stake, never underestimate the value of legal expertise.


Massachusetts strictly prohibits all possession and use of fake IDs, levying harsh fines, imprisonment, and license suspension against both underage minors and legal adults. The criminal consequences can negatively impact lives in the short and long term. Understanding the serious legal risks is important for discouraging use of false identification. Individuals facing charges should consult an attorney to explore defenses and avoidance of penalties where possible. When it comes to fake IDs, making the right choices now prevents future devastation.


What are some typical penalties for using a fake ID in Massachusetts?

Typical penalties include fines up to $500, 1 year in jail, alcohol education programs, driver’s license suspension, and permanent criminal record.

Does Massachusetts suspend driver’s licenses for fake ID offenses?

Yes, the RMV will administratively suspend licenses for 180 days for minors just for possession of a fake ID plus any court-ordered suspension.

How can a lawyer help with fake ID charges?

A lawyer can identify defenses, negotiate reduced charges, pursue mitigating factors to lessen penalties, and guide you through the legal system.

Contact Us Now

If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with a crime in Massachusetts, you need the top-notch defense team at Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski. With offices in Amherst and Northampton, Attorney Kokonowski brings nearly 30 years of unmatched criminal trial experience to protect your rights.

As a former Hampden County prosecutor, Attorney Kokonowski conducted approximately 30 criminal trials even before finishing law school. This gave him an insider view of prosecutorial strategies so he could better defend the accused. After passing the bar exam on his first attempt, Attorney Kokonowski joined the District Attorney’s office as a full-time prosecutor to gain more invaluable experience.

Over the next few years, he engaged in around 100 additional criminal hearings and trials. When Attorney Kokonowski entered private practice in 1994, he had the skills, knowledge, and tenacity to take on tough cases and fight aggressively for his clients.

Attorney Kokonowski handles all types of criminal matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies. He is not afraid to file motions attacking constitutional violations and litigate them all the way to preserve your rights. With his deep understanding of criminal procedure and law enforcement tactics, Attorney Kokonowski can locate issues like improper searches or failure to provide Miranda rights.

If your case goes to trial, you have a tireless fighter in your corner. Attorney Kokonowski’s proven record of dismissals and not guilty verdicts speaks for itself. He knows how to craft a compelling defense targeting any flaws or inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case.

Beyond criminal defense, Attorney Kokonowski also represents clients in civil litigation including personal injury lawsuits and contract disputes. This diverse courtroom experience gives him creative skills to approach your criminal case from every angle.

Don’t take chances with your future – call Attorney Kokonowski today at (413) 585-9200 or (413) 549-0022 for experienced and aggressive representation. His unique background as a prosecutor provides inside knowledge of the system that could make all the difference in defending your case. Let this relentless trial lawyer use his unparalleled experience to be your voice in the courtroom. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski today!



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