As the academic year comes to a close and finals are successfully completed, many students will go out and celebrate the end of the year. Some students may celebrate with a movie but others may celebrate by going out with a group of friends. Most of those students will face no problems, but some students may get more attention than they ever anticipated. Imagine this all too familiar scenario: you have finished your last final and everyone goes out to a local bar in Adams Morgan or Georgetown for drinks. You friends line up and one by one they are allowed to enter. You are next up, the bouncer looks over your ID and then signals you to exit the line. While you are waiting to find out why you were pulled out of line – a police officer asks to speak with you. While speaking to the officer you learn that the bouncer signaled to the officer that you had a fake ID. The officer asks your name and age and informs you that you are under arrest for possessing a fake ID. Specifically, you are under arrest for misrepresentation of age. Once the reality of the situation hits you, you may feel like you are having a heart attack as a million questions begin running through your mind. Will I go to jail? Will I have a criminal record? Will I be kicked out of school? Will this ruin my life? Due to areas like Washington, D.C and Virginia cracking down on fake ids, this scenario and these feelings are unfortunately very common.
In Washington, DC a conviction for misrepresentation of age could carry 30 days of jail time under certain circumstances. Avoiding a criminal record and possible jail time requires artful negotiation by a DC criminal defense attorney. Under DC Code § 25-1002 having a fake ID is called Misrepresentation of Age and is a misdemeanor. Under the same section of the DC Code § 25-1002(c)(2) there is a possibility of entering into a diversion agreement if this is the first or second time you have been charged with Misrepresentation of Age. The diversion program can include community service or educational classes; however the prosecutor has the option to deny the diversion program to anyone who already has a criminal history. An experienced DC criminal defense lawyer should be able to guide you through the diversion process.
Once the police have the fake ID and the bouncer gives a witness statement (and is willing to testify) no further evidence is needed to get a conviction for Misrepresentation of Age. However, prosecutors have the option to give Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA) or a Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA). Each of these agreements are a form of diversion. A DPA and a DSA would prevent you from ever having a criminal conviction, and both of these agreements would allow for your record to be sealed.
To have the best chance of entering into a diversion agreement (and getting your record sealed) you should call a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney. It can be scary to face a Misrepresentation of Age charge alone, especially if you just moved to Washington, DC for college. A qualified attorney will not only assist you in protecting your record and freedom but he will provide you with the security we all want in these circumstances. Never handle an arrest, no matter how big or small, without the assistance of an attorney.
For that reason you should consult a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney and be honest about whether you have a prior record (including plea agreements) in any jurisdiction. It is important to be candid with an attorney, because the prosecutor will learn about any prior record in any jurisdiction.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for Misrepresentation of Age in Washington, D.C., call Scrofano Law, PC at 202-946-5783 and ask for attorney Christopher J. Mutimer.