What happens if you’re caught with a fake ID?

For as long as there have been laws restricting certain activities by age, there have been people who try to get around those laws with fake driver licenses or other pieces of phony identification. In Nevada and many other states, it is illegal to possess, sell, or transfer documentation intended to frustrate those laws, no matter what the intent is.

But, what happens if you’re caught with a fake ID? What are the legal and financial consequences? The attorneys at De Castroverde Law, serving Las Vegas and surrounding areas in Nevada, have put together this guide to answer those questions. If you are ever accused of using a fake ID, our team of criminal attorneys can provide the counsel you need to resolve the matter, quickly and fairly.

What Are the Fake ID Laws in Nevada?

Las Vegas slot machines
Image via Flickr by dennis | License CC by 2.0


Nevada has long recognized that fake IDs are now being used for serious crimes. The crime of identity theft has become commonplace across the world, and it’s particularly acute in Nevada with our casino-based economy.

Consequently, Nevada has established several levels of fake ID and identity theft crimes:

  • The most severe crime under Nevada law is selling or transferring the personal information of someone who is 60 years or older or considered vulnerable under the law, or in a way that causes a financial loss of greater than $3,000.
  • It’s also illegal in Nevada to co-opt another person’s identity with the intent of fraudulently obtaining credit, property, or services, or to assist in the theft of someone’s identity.
  • The act of possessing a fake ID to establish a false identity is also considered a felony.
  • Finally, it is against the law to possess a fake ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes or for gambling in a casino, or to provide the fake ID documents to allow a person to do that.

Specific penalties will depend on the exact circumstances of each offense.

Can Using a Fake ID Lead to Jail Time?

Penalties for using a fake ID can be severe and include sentences to prison or jail. The most severe sentences will likely be reserved for repeat offenders. The statutory maximums are:

  • Trafficking in personal information of someone over 60 or who is vulnerable or of multiple people is a Class B felony with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • Using a fake ID for credit or debit card fraud is considered a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possessing a fake ID is a Class E felony with a maximum prison time of 4 years and a $5,000 fine.
  • Selling or giving away a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or to allow someone to gamble, is a gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Possessing a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or to allow someone to gamble, is a regular misdemeanor calling for 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Keep in mind that the U.S. government can also charge you with identity theft. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 calls for federal sentences of up to 25 years.

Nevada law also makes clear that the state takes a dim view of fake IDs. The law states that Nevada can proceed with prosecution whether or not the person whose information has been appropriated is living or deceased, or if the information reflects a completely made-up identity. It also doesn’t matter if the person whose identity has been adopted suffers a financial loss or not.

Certain limited exemptions do exist. The law does not apply to individuals who possess the personally identifying information of another person in the course of their employment, as long as those individuals do not demonstrate the intent to defraud or otherwise break the law.

Consequences of Fake IDs in Casinos

Casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada offer the greatest temptation for the use of fake IDs. But keep in mind that casinos are heavily regulated in almost every facet of their gaming operation. Staying in compliance with the various regulations is vital to keep their licenses in good standing — i.e., to avoid fines and other penalties.

Under Nevada law, no one under 21 years of age is allowed to enter the casino floor. Underage individuals cannot even go into a casino with a parent or a legal guardian. (As an aside, casinos are ready for you on your birthday; you can be admitted into a casino one minute after midnight on the actual date of your birth.)

The odds are stacked against you. For even if you gain access to the casino with a fake ID, and you win money, you will have to produce the ID again to collect your winnings. Chances are low that you will get lucky twice. If caught, you will lose your winnings and potentially face costly misdemeanor charges.

Though considered a misdemeanor under the law, getting caught with a fake ID in a casino can have long-term consequences even beyond your wallet. You do not want to handle the misdemeanor charge on your own; make sure you obtain proper professional legal advice.

Get Legal Representation from De Castroverde Law

Don’t go it alone if you are accused of using false identification in Nevada. The criminal law team at De Castroverde Law of Las Vegas will help you identify and obtain the proper resolution of your case at the lowest possible cost. Our criminal law practice group includes several former prosecutors who understand the elements of a case and will work hard to hold the government to account. Whether it’s reduced charges or dismissed charges, we’ll build you a resolute defense strategy leading to the right outcome. Our attorneys will provide personalized attention, putting together evidence that tells the fullest possible story. We’re broadly experienced in all facets of criminal law will evaluate your case to provide an honest assessment of options. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation.