Many people in the United States feel safer using a fake ID for many reasons. Some use it for work, or for driving because they don’t have a driver’s license. Others use a fake ID for school. Most people do it because they either can’t get a real ID (such as a driver’s license), or because they are afraid to use their real name because of possible immigration consequences, or because they may have an active warrant. However, under Minnesota law, giving false information to a police officer is a crime. Giving an officer your fake ID, or even giving them a fake name or date of birth, is a crime in Minnesota for which you could face very serious consequences.
Lying About Your Identity Leads to Additional Charges
Imagine being pulled over while driving and the officer comes to the window and asks for your ID. You tell him you don’t have one, so he asks for your name instead. If you give the officer a fake name, you could be charged with a misdemeanor in addition to any other crimes you’ve committed (such as driving without a license, or speeding, etc.). A misdemeanor in Minnesota is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If, when the officer asks you for your name, you give them the name of a different person – such as your cousin, or a friend – you could be charged with a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. It’s not difficult for the police officer to find out if the name you’re using belongs to another person – they have computer systems to help with that. And, if you “invented” a name, but that name actually belongs to another real person, you could still be charged with a gross misdemeanor even if they live in another state and even if you don’t know that person exists! And again, now you could be looking at a gross misdemeanor charge in addition to the ticket you were going to receive anyway (or in some cases, the officer may not have written a ticket for “just speeding”, but now with the new crime, he can arrest you). Officers don’t appreciate being lied to. It’s never a good idea to lie to the police.
In addition to the new criminal charges you could receive, both misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors are offenses that you could be arrested for. So, now rather than just receiving a ticket for speeding or driving without a license, now you could also be arrested, go to jail, and have to face additional, more serious charges in criminal court.
And, to make matters even worse, providing false information to a police officer is a crime that could cause very serious immigration consequences. If you are an immigrant who has not yet become a U.S. Citizen, this crime could cause you to lose your immigration status, affect your ability to enter the United States, or place you in deportation proceedings. This crime could also affect your application for citizenship.
What to Do If You Are Pulled Over
If you are pulled over by the police and you do not have a valid driver’s license, you should still identify yourself with a valid photo ID, such as a license from your home country, a passport, or a consular identification card. If that’s not possible, give the officer something with your correct name and date of birth, such as a work ID. Although you may not be able to avoid a charge of driving without a license or speeding, you will avoid a more serious charge of providing false information to the police.
It’s not worth lying to the police and subjecting yourself to more severe problems. Sometimes people do things when they are scared that they wouldn’t normally do. But remember – the worst thing you can do in this situation is lie to the officer.
These charges are serious and could have lasting effects even after the criminal case is over. Providing false information to the police is much more serious than a typical traffic ticket. You should not try to fight this charge by yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, contact Sieben Edmunds Miller right away. We know your rights and we know the law. We will fight to protect you and to get you the best outcome possible. Give us a call to get started – you can reach us at (651) 994-6744.