Underage Drinking

False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

Laws prohibiting the use of false identification by minors to obtain alcohol.

Policy Topics

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Variables: False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

  1. Provisions That Target Minors
    • Use of False ID Prohibited - A checkmark indicates that it is a criminal offense to use false identification to obtain alcohol.
    • License Suspension - A State may impose an administrative license suspension (see Definitions) and/or a judicial suspension (see Definitions) for the use of false identification.  If there are separate judicial and administrative processes, and the administrative process is an independent process that can result in license suspension regardless of a conviction or suspension order by the court, this variable is coded as "both".
    • (License suspension for underage purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol is addressed under the APIS policy topic, Use/Lose)
  2. Provisions That Target Suppliers
    • Lend/Transfer/Sell - A checkmark indicates that it is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID. For this variable, APIS does not include provisions that apply only to minors falsifying identification.
    • Produce - A checkmark indicates that it is a criminal offense to alter a valid ID or to create or manufacture a false ID. This variable requires that the law specifically refer to age 21 or apply to the context of alcoholic beverage sales. In this case, "context" can include a provision's particular location in a statutory or regulatory code. For this variable, APIS does not include provisions that apply only to minors falsifying identification.
  3. Retailer Support Provisions
    • Scanner - A checkmark indicates that the State provides incentives to retailers who use electronic scanners that read birthdate and other information digitally encoded on valid identification cards.  Incentives may include an affirmative defense in prosecutions for sales to minors if the retailer can show that the scanner was used properly.
    • Distinctive Licenses - A checkmark indicates that driver's licenses for persons under 21 must be easily distinguishable from licenses for persons 21 and over. This variable is not specific to alcoholic beverage sales.
    • Seizure of an Identification Document - A checkmark indicates that retailers may seize apparently false IDs without fear of prosecution even if the identification is valid (assuming the retailer has a reasonable or good faith belief that the ID is false).
    • Affirmative Defense - APIS codes two types of affirmative defenses that retailers can assert in license or criminal actions related to furnishing alcohol to a minor:
      • Specific Affirmative Defense - The retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid.
      • General Affirmative Defense - The retailer came to a good faith or reasonable decision that the purchaser was 21 years or older.  Inspection of an identification card is not required, although it may serve as evidence that the affirmative defense should be applied.
      • The code for this variable is "none" if the State has no statutory or regulatory provision that provides the retailer an affirmative defense related to his or her belief that the minor was 21 years of age or older.
      • The APIS policy topic, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, provides another example of an affirmative defense.  In the case of Furnishing, a seller/licensee must be exonerated of charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor unless the minor involved is charged.
    • Right to Sue Minor - A checkmark indicates that a retailer has the statutory right to sue a minor who uses a false ID to purchase alcohol for any losses or fines suffered by the retailer as a result of the illegal sale.
    • Detention of Minor - A checkmark indicates that a retailer has the authority to detain a minor suspected of using a false ID to purchase alcohol.  This authority may protect the retailer from liability for false arrest, false imprisonment, slander, or unlawful detention.