While Las Vegas offers many attractions and activities for people of all ages, the city’s biggest draws are arguably the ones that are available only to people above the age of 18 or 21. For this reason, many individuals who have not reached the required age often attempt to find illicit ways around these legal barriers. One of the most common means of circumventing the age barriers to access gambling, alcohol, and other adult diversions is the use of a stolen identification card.
If you have stolen an ID, are using a stolen ID, or are considering doing so, you might be wondering what consequences might apply if the authorities catch you. Punishments can vary depending on who is involved, how much damage the crime causes, and the number of victims. However, you should know that crimes involving stolen IDs can lead to severe penalties. If you are facing charges for these crimes, working with an experienced defense attorney may be your only hope of avoiding the harshest punishments.
What Are the Potential Penalties You Face?
Crimes involving stolen or fake identification cards, such as a driver’s license or passport, carry different penalties depending on the severity of the offense. For example, if you use a false or stolen ID to access alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, or gambling, you may face a punishment of up to six months in jail. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
However, selling or giving a false or stolen ID to someone else carries harsher penalties, including up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Because these offenses are considered theft crimes, you may also have to pay restitution to the theft victims. For example, if the victim’s credit score dropped due to your actions, you may have to pay to repair their credit.
Can Stealing an ID Be Considered Identity Theft?
In some cases, state and federal laws consider stealing another person’s identification card identity theft. You may face much more severe penalties if you are convicted of these crimes. Nevada law defines identity theft as using another person’s identifying information as a means of fraudulently obtaining property, services, or credit. Examples include:
- Using a stolen driver’s license or social security number to open a credit card or bank account in someone else’s name
- Gaining employment under someone else’s name and social security number
- Obtaining medical care using another person’s health insurance information
- Filing a fraudulent tax return using another person’s identity
- Renting an apartment or taking out a loan using stolen identification documents
The critical factor is that the stolen identity is used to obtain something of value or commit fraud. Just possessing a stolen ID card may not rise to the level of identity theft. However, using that card to pass age-restricted areas or purchase alcohol could be considered identity theft. An experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help you determine which factors apply to your situation.
Is It a Felony to Steal an ID?
Many stolen ID crimes are considered felonies at the state and federal levels.
In Nevada, it is a Category E felony to possess a false ID to establish a fake identity. Usually, penalties for this type of felony include probation and a suspended jail sentence, with possible jail time of up to one year. However, if you are a repeat offender, you may face one to four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Nevada considers the following ID crimes as Category C felonies:
- Sale or transfer of a fake ID
- Possession of a fake ID to commit forgery, debit or credit card fraud, or internet fraud
- Deliberate use of another person’s ID to evade prosecution for an illegal act
- False impersonation
These offenses carry a penalty of one to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Category B felonies in Nevada include:
- Deliberate acquisition of another person’s ID with the intent to break the law
- Sale or transfer of the personal identifying information of someone 60 or older, a vulnerable person, or five or more people
- Inducement of a financial loss or injury of $3,000 or more to another person due to selling or giving away their identification information
Punishments for these crimes include prison sentences of one to twenty years. However, for crimes involving victims who are at least 60 years old or disabled, those involving five or more people, and those involving a financial loss of $3,000 or more, a conviction will result in a minimum prison sentence of three years.
If the felony is tried in federal court, the penalties may include a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines of up to $250,000. Furthermore, you should be aware that felony convictions permanently strip you of your right to carry a firearm. The only way to restore that right is to receive a pardon.
Contact De Castroverde Law Today
Whether an ID theft crime is a misdemeanor or a felony, and whether it is tried at the state or federal level, the consequences of a conviction can be severe and far-reaching. Furthermore, if you are an immigrant in the United States, you might worry whether these charges might lead to your deportation. If you or a loved one is facing identity theft or stolen ID charges in Nevada, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense who will fight to protect your rights and liberties.
The seasoned legal team at De Castroverde Law has the resources and skills to help you protect your freedom. We can argue that you had no intention to break the law, and we can fight to have charges dismissed or reduced to non-deportable offenses. Alternatively, we can demonstrate that your arrest resulted from an illegal search and seizure by the police. Whatever the circumstances, we will listen compassionately to your story and determine the most effective way forward. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.