Fake IDs become easier to identify

Water+Street+Tavern.

Courtesy of Mike Beder.

Water Street Tavern.

Gavin Mitten, Reporter

Students can face jail time if caught with fake identification documents, which are now easier to identify with new techniques.

No person shall display, possess or lend a fake ID, according to section 335.04 of the Ohio Revised Code. A violation of this section results in a misdemeanor of the first degree.

A first-degree misdemeanor charge for a fake ID can result in six months of jail time, a suspended driver’s license and a $1,000 fine.

Usually, the police are not immediately called when someone is caught with a fake ID.

“When we catch one, we always give them the opportunity to leave themselves without the ID they presented,” said Michael Beder, the owner of Water Street Tavern. “We’re fully aware that these are potential legal customers in a year or two.”

There are many ways to tell if an ID is fake.

“If the person is presenting an ID that’s not themselves, eye color and height are quick giveaways,” Beder said. “The hologram and different markings give away even the best ones.”

Newer ways of recognizing fake IDs have helped bars and law enforcement.

Bars now have scanners and card readers to help spot fake IDs, said Michael Lewis, an administrative lieutenant at the Kent Police Department.

In instances where someone is insisting that they are not presenting a fake ID, the police are called. The police have their own ways of verifying IDs.

“We can obtain information through databases that will expose the suspect,” Lewis said. “Or we can get information that the suspect might not be able to verify.”

Fake IDs also pose a risk to bars and bar employees.

“It puts our liquor license in jeopardy, and with no liquor license we don’t have a business,” Beder said.

If bar employees are suspected of negligently serving alcohol to underage customers, they can face jail time, Lewis said.

“Somebody who knowingly and intentionally serves alcohol to somebody who is underage can be arrested and charged with furnishing alcohol to people who are underage,” Lewis said.

Furnishing alcohol to minors is a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

The producers of fake IDs have a strategy when producing and distributing.

“Sometimes we see more of them [fake IDs] from a particular state,” Lewis said. “Whoever is manufacturing these will get good at one particular ID and do that for a while, until it’s getting caught too much.”

The Kent Police Department has been seeing a lot of fake Pennsylvania IDs recently, Lewis said. However, this will change as fake Pennsylvania IDs are caught more often.

Beder warns against using fake IDs to get into bars.

“We’ve all been underage with overage friends, and it’s no fun to be left out,” Beder said. “But there’s too much at stake to risk our livelihoods.”

Gavin Mitten is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]