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Fake IDs on campus: Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jan 30, 2014  ||   

Fake IDs are a commonality on college campuses nationwide, and provided the demand for the merchandise it can buy remains high, students will continue to seek out false credentials.

However, there is a very real risk – and cost – that underage students face when using a fake ID. At West Virginia University the penalty for using a fake ID is, among other things, a hefty monetary fine.

Hundreds of dollars in fines and other penalties may not be enough, however, as the use of fake IDs on WVU’s campus and surrounding areas remains a constant problem.

Campus police can cite students for using a false ID, but common practice is to send these students to the judicial system, where the fines are assessed. In fact, the Daily Athenaeum reports that Morgantown court costs alone run about $168, with any person found guilty of using a fake ID or giving someone their driver’s license subject to a fine of $500 or more.

Even valid driver’s licenses, when used illegally, can yield serious consequences. It’s a danger that many students of legal drinking age don’t understand or choose not to heed.

In West Virginia giving your valid driver’s license to an underage person for illegal use can result in that ID being revoked. Police or other authorities that receive the false credential simply send the card to state authorities, where the ID can be dealt with accordingly.

The reasons for using fake IDs hasn’t really evolved, as getting into bars and buying alcohol remain the primary motivations. What has changed over time, however, is how easy it is to obtain a fake ID. A simple Internet search can yield a number of possibilities for any underage student looking for a false credential.

The real danger, then, lies with those students who know the consequences, know the risk, and don’t care – or at the very least are willing to pay the fines.

While the police and campus authorities are vital in deterring the use of fake IDs, bouncers and liquor store employees play an equally important role.

Despite looming fines and court appearances, fake IDs will continue to thrive so long as the rejection rates remain low. Bernstein says of that all the times he used his fake ID while underage he was only rejected twice.

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