College: the only time in your life when regularly drinking alcohol and getting drunk is socially acceptable. Whether or not it is acknowledged, the college stereotype regarding alcohol tends to prove true. The obsession with alcohol and how to obtain it is continually on the minds of the average underage college student. With college students typically being between the ages of 18 to 22 and the legal drinking age in the United States being 21, alcohol and underage drinking go hand in hand.
There are those who are willing to wait until the legal drinking age to start buying alcohol and going to bars and clubs, but there are also those underage impatient to drink. Those who are restless to start being 21 seek out a fake identification card, a false driver’s license that provides as “proof” that you are 21 or over and therefore legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol.
State F Stephen Life At University Sfa Austin Fake identification cards come in a variety of options. Some opt for getting an ID that is printed especially for them, with their own picture and name on them, but with an older age, a different address or even a different state, and all for a hefty price. This is a convenient way to get an ID, but the problem is you have to know someone who prints these IDs. Some use online sites that promise fake IDs in exchange for a shady money transfer to another country. This requires you to put your faith and money in an unknown printer in an unfamiliar foreign place. Another way of obtaining proof of legal drinking age is to seek out a doppelganger, finding a friend with similar features to your own. This method requires knowing a friend who is of age and who looks similar to you. Getting a fake ID all depends on whom you know and which method of obtaining identification is most available to you.
“When I first decided to get my fake ID, I was asking people all around UNR if they knew someone or somewhere I could get an ID but no one seemed to know,” said Kenneth Marquina, 21, a former fake ID user. “I started going online and looking for websites that made fake IDs but they were kind of sketchy and I was scared the ID wouldn’t be good or wouldn’t work at all. I started to ask some of my fraternity brothers from UNLV and one of my brothers sold fake IDs so it made the deal better. Buying it from someone I knew and trusted was way better than buying it from a website ran by who knows who.”
When you have a fake ID, you have to put it to good use. Local bars, clubs, grocery stores and liquor stores eagerly await the purchases of those who are “of age,” but fake IDs aren’t acceptable for use just anywhere. For the underage crowd, there seems to be a sixth sense—you just know when and where to use your fake ID and when and where it won’t be accepted.
“But you pretty much just know where to go and where you can use it when you have a fake,” Marquina said. “You just have to use common sense and stick to local places with lots of college kids.”
Local casino and hotel, the Eldorado Reno, is home to the popular bar and brewery, Brew Brothers. Brew Brothers has a reputation among University of Nevada students as being strict, meaning fake IDs are not tolerated. It is really difficult to gain entry to the bar without being legally of age. Bouncers at Brew Brothers are extra cautious about reading and scanning identification cards.
“Bouncers are known to even take real IDs from the person they belong to,” said Rachel Yates, former Brew Brothers waitress. “But if they do come across the really fake IDs, bouncers are known to snap them in half on the spot. If the ID is real but the person trying to get in is not the person on the ID, they’ll take the ID, keep it and turn it into Eldorado’s lost and found. The person whose ID it is has to come and pick it up later.”
However getting your ID snapped in half isn’t the worst thing that could happen when trying to use your fake ID. Robert Dean, now 21, is a student at California State University, Sacramento. October 2011, he got caught by police using his fake ID at the liquor store he regularly went to near his home in Sacramento, Calif.
“I was walking into the liquor store down the street from my house and bought two Four Locos,” Dean said. “As I was walking out to my car I gave the bag with the cans to my friend and then walked around the back of my car. Then four men got out a car to my left and slammed me up against my car and asked if I was 21. I knew I had been caught, so I told them I was underage and used a fake ID. They put me in handcuffs and took my fake ID. Then they wrote me a ticket and let me go.”
The ordeal wasn’t over yet, Dean still had to show up for court February 2012 and be sentenced for his crime.
“The judge realized I was scared shitless, he actually was very nice about everything while still being stern,” Dean said. “I was asked what I did and then was asked what I pleaded. The judge helped me with the process and I pleaded no contest. My punishment was a slap on the wrist but it was pretty fair. I only had to pay for an alcohol class which was $150 and then they said they would strike everything from my record if I behaved and did the class by the follow up court date. I didn’t get caught after that so I have a clean record now.”
From California to Nevada, the charges for those who get caught with fake identification in relation to alcohol seem to be similar. Punishments tend to be just a simple slap on the wrist.
“It’s a misdemeanor crime to be in possession with a fake ID,” said Todd Renwick, commander at the University of Nevada, Reno Police Services. “Chances are the individual’s going to get cited. If they’ve committed other crimes in addition to the fake ID and maybe they’re going to go to jail, it’ll just be added as a charge. But more than likely, if it’s just the fake ID, it’ll be a citation. Officers can use transgression. They can choose maybe not to cite for the fake ID, they’ll take it, they’ll destroy it. And maybe there’s another charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol, so they’ll charge for the minor in possession and they’ll give a warning on the fake ID.”
Charges seem to be what the officer decides to give you on that particular day, if you get caught. Being a college campus, fake IDs are easily and frequently found surrounding Reno. Though they are illegal, many, many students have them and use them frequently, especially in similar social circles.
“We see action with fake IDs frequently,” said Renwick. “When we encounter college students who are underage drinking, chances are one, if not all, are going to be in possession with a fake ID. So it is pretty frequent that we come across them.”
Having a fake ID tends to be a standard among underage college students. Many friends get fake IDs together in a group, especially those who purchase fake IDs from online foreign websites. These sketchy websites generally offer generous discounts for those buying fake IDs in a large group; prices can reduce up to $100 an ID.
“I got my fake from a website that’s shut down now,” said Dean. “I ordered the IDs with 5 other friends because there was a discounted rate with the more IDs you ordered. When the IDs arrived, we had to pry open a calculator and the IDs were hidden inside. It was all pretty sketchy, but it worked out in the end.”
With it being illegal and the continual sketchiness is having and using a fake ID really worth the risk? Especially if that risk only involves showing up to court and being required to pay a fine and attend a class.
“Having a fake ID was totally worth it,” Dean said. “I already know how to act in a bar and what to expect. I already know how to gamble so I don’t have to learn. And since I took the alcohol class, the charge is off my record, so who cares. The punishment was barely even a punishment. I’ve gotten in more trouble with my parents before than I did when I got caught with my fake.”
Students tend to be in agreement when it comes to the issue of fake IDs; they are worth the money and potential trouble you could get in with the law.
“I feel like getting a fake ID during college is a rite of passage for a college student,” Marquina said. “You get to experience what being in college is all about, going to bars, being able to supply alcohol for parties. College is a time to try new things and make mistakes and have fun along the way and I see having a fake as exactly that. There will be nights that your fake gets you into a bar that everyone is having a blast at and there will be nights where it gets denied, but hey, at least you tried and that’s life.”