Imagine being able to get into any club or bar you wanted. To be able to buy liquor, vote, or even gamble, and all at the age of 16.
Some high-school teenagers find these options so tempting that they obtain a false means of identification. That’s right! Fake I.D.’s: they aren’t just for the college crowd anymore.
“I got mine so I could buy liquor,” said one Country Day student, who also said the card was used to get into dance clubs and gambling casinos.
“One time a group of friends and I went up to Tahoe to gamble. We were denied at some of the bigger places, but most of the second-rate casinos didn’t care.
“I would say about 10-20 of my close friends have fake I.D.’s,” the student continued.
And they’re good fakes, he said.
“It (the I.D.) is really authentic. The only thing it doesn’t have is the official seal (of California that appears on the lamination of California driver’s licenses and D.V.V identification cards). And it’s a little faded-looking, but other than that it looks real.”
The student obtained the I.D. through a student at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
“I gave my license to him; he scraped the lamination and typing off with a lead printer, retyped it, and relaminated it.”
But what is considered by the law to be a federal offense is not confined only to U0P.
“A lot of people I know get them from (UC) Santa Barbara and Cal (UC Berkeley).”
The student is currently in the process of getting a new one from a student at American River College who “does it for twenty bucks.”
For some collegiate entrepreneurs, fake I.D.’s are big business.
“There’s also a guy in Santa Barbara that for a hundred bucks will steal you a birth certificate from city hall. Then you just take it into the D.M.V and tell them you lost your license or you need an I.D. card.”
The I.D. scam is not foolproof however.
“My old one got taken away at an Oakland A’s game,” the student said.
“They had this light they shined on it to see if it had the seal (on the lamination). And when I asked for it back, they threatened to press charges.”
No matter how easy it seems to pull this off, however, the authorities aren’t taking fake I.D.’s lying down.
Steps are being taken by the D.M.V. to prevent forgeries, the latest and most effective of which are the new types of California driver’s licenses and I.D. cards, which now are credit-card-style plastic and are supposedly impossible to fake.
Although the penalties vary depending on the case, according to the public defender’s office, a minor in possession of a fake I.D. is charged with a misdemeanor and a fine. Additional consequences depend on what the I.D. was used for.
—By Steve Lesher
Want more retro-Octagon? Read the stories below to discover what SCDS students were writing about decades ago.