VC 13004 – The Law On Unlawful Use Of ID Cards [Guide]

The Law In California

If you tried to pass someone else’s ID card as your own, or if you let someone else use your ID card unlawfully, you may be guilty of unlawful use of ID Cards under Vehicle Code section 13004.

This is a misdemeanor offense for which a defendant may face up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,0001.

Example

A 17-year-old buying a fake, out-of-state ID card with his/her actual name on it and buying alcohol at a local liquor store.

Definiton of Unlawful Use of ID Cards

Vehicle Code section 13004 defines unlawful use of ID cards as follows:

definition

It is unlawful for anyone to do any of the following:

  • To display or cause or permit to be displayed or have in his possession any canceled, fictitious, fraudulently altered, or fraudulently obtained identification card.
  • To lend his identification card to any other person or knowingly permit the use thereof by another.
  • To display or represent any identification card not issued to him as being his card.
  • To permit any unlawful use of an identification card issued to him.
  • To do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required by this article.
  • To photograph, photostat, duplicate, or in any way reproduce any identification card or a facsimile thereof in such a manner that it could be mistaken for a valid identification card, or to display or have in his possession any such photograph, photostat, duplicate, reproduction, or facsimile unless authorized by the provisions of this code.
  • To alter any identification card in any manner not authorized by this code2.

Examples of This Law being Violated:

  • A woman who is an illegal immigrant pays for a fake ID so she can apply for a job.
  • Jane and Sarah, who are underage, purchase fake ID cards that represent that they are 25 years old and go dancing at the new night club.
  • John is underage but he was told to bring alcohol to a spring break party and he does not want to disappoint.  He takes his older brother’s ID without his permission and goes to the liquor store to buy alcohol and is caught.

In all the examples above, defendants can be faced with serious repercussions, such as license suspension, fines and possible jail time if they are charged with unlawful use of ID cards under Vehicle Code section 13004. Also, beware that when you use a fake, or someone else’s identification card, or knowingly let someone else use your identification, depending on the purpose you do so, you may commit an additional crime in the process, such as “identity theft” under Penal Code §530.5, or “forgery,” under Penal Code section 470 et. seq., which can subject you to additional charges or penalties.

How Does the Prosecutor Prove You Used An Unlawful ID Card?

To prove that you are guilty of this offense, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant used an identification card in any of the unlawful ways listed above with intent to defraud or deceive.3

Typically, this Vehicle Code section is most commonly violated in the following ways:

#1. Defendant used a fake or someone else’s identification card, or knowingly allowed someone else to use his/her identification card to lie about his/her age.

Fake ID

Defendant used a fake or someone else’s identification card, or knowingly allowed someone else to use his/her identification card to misrepresent his/her legal status.

Example

An illegal immigrant uses a fake identification card to misrepresent that he/she has legal status to work

How Can You Fight Unlawful Use of ID Card Charges?

You Had A Lack Of Knowledge:

If you did not knowingly let someone else unlawfully use your identification card, you have a defense for this offense.

You Had No Intent To Commit Fraud

If you used an identification card in an unlawful way but did so without the intent to defraud anyone, you can use that as a basis for your defense.

Example:

A woman made a copy of her identification card and left it in her husband’s car glove compartment, thinking that it would be a good idea to have a copy for when she occasionally drives his car and forgets her driver’s license in another purse.

When her husband’s car got broken into, the burglars stole a copy of the woman’s identification card and unlawfully used the card to commit identity theft.

What Are The Penalties, Punishment and Sentencing Guidelines for Unlawful Use of ID Cards?

This is a misdemeanor offense for which a defendant may face up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,0004.

Are There Potential Additional Charges?

When you use a fake or someone else’s identification card, or knowingly let someone else use your identification.

You may commit an additional crime in the process, such as “identity theft” under Penal Code §530.5, or “forgery,” under Penal Code section 470 et. seq., which can subject you to additional charges or penalties.

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Get Legal Help

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 

Footnotes

  1. Vehicle Code §§40000.11; 13004. []
  2. Vehicle Code, Section 10851. []
  3. Elements. Veh. Code, § 13004. []
  4. Vehicle Code §§40000.11; 13004. []

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