Fake ID to Purchase Alcohol in Virginia

A common crime for University students is the use of a fake ID to consume, purchase or attempt to consume or purchase an alcoholic beverage. In many cases the student is stopped for exhibiting signs of intoxication. Upon investigation by the officer, the student will either hand the officer the fake ID or the officer will see that the student has an ID that is different than the one given in his/her wallet.

The Statute

The provision in the code prohibiting this conduct is found within subsection B of the underage possession of alcohol statute in Virginia, § 4.1-305. It states that persons under 21 years are prohibited from using or attempting to use an altered, or fictitious driver's license (or similar document) in order to establish a false identification or false age for himself to consume, purchase or attempt to consume or purchase an alcoholic beverage.


A violation of this section of the code is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which is technically punishable by up to one year in jail, and a $2500 fine, although these maximum punishments are almost never applied in these cases.

On the other hand, the accused can expect to receive a mandatory fine of at least $500, or 50 hours of community service. There will also be a license suspension of at least 6 months, although the court may grant a restricted license to drive to work, medical appointments, etc..

Crime of Moral Turpitude and Employment Issues

One of the main problems with a conviction under this statute is that some employers consider a violation of this section to be a crime involving fraud, which triggers possible issues gaining employment. It is therefore important to try to find alternative outcomes aside from a conviction of this specific statute. Depending on the facts of your case it may make sense to contest the case, or alternatively to try to have the case amended to a less serious parallel code section.

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