A tale of two IDs


There was a 2016 Reddit post about the use of a fake ID by a minor in Tuscaloosa. The guilty party wrote:

I was recently approached outside of a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and asked to show them my ID. At first I kept telling them I was 22, but he told me it was better to just tell them my real age so I did, I’m 20. They took my ID and wrote me a citation that says I committed the offense of “Improper ID By Minor.” They handed me the citation and told me to show up to court, but that’s it. 

A response to the post, which was asking about the consequences of the citation, said that a year ago The University of Alabama Civil Law Clinic gave a “$320 fine and a mandatory 90-180 day suspension of your driver’s license” as the penalty. Since then the fine may have been increased by $100.

The use of fake IDs to obtain alcohol in Tuscaloosa is a commonplace practice. High tech IDs can cost hundreds of dollars. It is a law enforcement nightmare. Many people who can pay hundreds of dollars for a fake ID would not be deterred by such a fine.

Several lawyers in Tuscaloosa advertise that they specialize in “Open Container”, “Improper I.D.” and “Minor in Possession of Alcohol” cases.

In terms of Alabama state law, the improper use of an ID can be considered a felony. The penalty for “possession of a forged instrument” may be punishable for up to ten years.

In Tuscaloosa, students who are minors and use a forged instrument seemingly are handled with “kid gloves” by the city. A youthful offenders status may play a part in this. And according to a local law enforcement officer, possession of a “forged instrument” would require intent to defraud. According to his interpretation, the use of a fake ID to enter an establishment to obtain alcohol involves no intent to defraud and can’t be charged under the state’s felony statute.

A student who posted in Greek Rank described his experience with the use of fake IDs in Tuscaloosa in this way:

It can be pretty 50/50. I’ve used good and bad fakes and had success/failure with both. Generally accepted rule is that the bars are more lenient earlier in the week (Mondays and Tuesdays especially) and harder later in the week (Fridays and Saturdays being the worst). Date parties are hit or miss, you’ll pretty quickly learn which locations have stricter bouncers (Chucks for example is usually pretty strict but Ive found Glory Bound to be easier). How good your fake is usually doesn’t determine whether they’ll accept it or not, but unlike some schools where you could use someone of say like a different race and the bouncers wouldn’t care, you need to at least have your picture that looks like you. Also, try to get one that works under a black light and scans. I know I said it doesn’t NEED to work, but a lot more bars nowadays are getting particular about that. I had two for around 75 dollars that worked really well until I became 21.

Just be careful, go on the right nights, don’t go to bars like Gallettes that are notorious for rejections, and you should be fine. Looking back now I think its probably a bad idea to get and use one but I get the feeling you were going to anyway, so hopefully this keeps you from hurting yourself.

The University of Alabama has clearly stated that the use of a fake ID is a violation of its policy.

 The University of Alabama’s Alcohol Policy clearly states that, “It is unlawful and a violation of University Policy to use or possess identification that makes an individual appear older or misrepresents an individual as someone else.”

If the University is serious about its own policies on the illegal use of alcohol and false identification, then it should make the penalty for such behavior onerous enough to deter it.  Obviously current measures are not effective.







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