For students who are not ’21 or over’

One in three of college students are likely to own a fake ID by the end of sophomore year.

Alma Pronove

College students don’t always think about the consequences before handing over their fake.

University of Minnesota students who use falsified IDs put themselves at risk of a misdemeanor, but some are willing to take that chance for booze.

Despite the consequences for owning a falsified identification card, University sophomore Addie said she will keep using hers to buy alcohol and get into bars.

“I don’t feel like anyone is going to call the cops,” she said.

Because of the potential for legal ramifications, Addie asked to be identified only by her first name.

Local bar and liquor store owners agree the use of falsified IDs has increased on campus in recent years.

“Absolutely, the problem has gotten worse with time … [especially] with things like the Internet, improved printers and improved laminators,” said Todd DuPont, owner of the Big 10 Restaurant and Bar.

About one in every three college students is likely to own a fake identification card by the end of their sophomore year, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in 2007.

DuPont said his employees undergo extensive training to spot fake IDs using electronic scanners and learn the protocol for confiscating the fake cards.

“We hang on to those IDs, and that person is not allowed to come back in,” he said.

Addie had her first falsified identification card taken away last spring at a local liquor store.

“The cashier just looked at me, said ‘this is fake,’ and put it in her drawer,” she said.

Under Minnesota state law, liquor stores can legally seize an identification card if the store has reasonable grounds to believe it isn’t authentic.

The law says liquor retailers aren’t required to take falsified identification cards away, but if they do, those cards must be turned over to the police within 24 hours of confiscation.

However, University Student Legal Services Director Mark Karon doesn’t think many liquor stores or bars follow this provision.

“I think most bouncers put them in a shoebox and don’t bother turning them in,” Karon said.

Zipps Liquors owner Jennifer Schoenzeit said people using falsified IDs should be prosecuted more harshly.

“The police tend to look the other way, but these minors do know what they’re doing,” she said. “It drives us crazy. We do our job, and [the police] just let them go.”

Karon said possessing a falsified ID card is a misdemeanor with maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

“Generally, if it’s a first-time offense, kids can get off with a small fine,” he said.

But the offense will still be on the person’s criminal record and would show up in a background check, Karon said.

After Addie’s first ID card was taken, she started using her older sister’s state-issued card.

“I’ve heard of websites you can use to get [identification cards] made in China, but I just got my first one from my boyfriend,” Addie said. “Using a real one is scarier since I don’t want to get my sister in trouble.”

Buying alcohol as a minor using someone else’s legitimate ID card is a gross misdemeanor, Karon said, which could mean thousands in fines as well as jail time.

Karon said he’s dealt with multiple cases in which bouncers demand cash from students in exchange for not reporting falsified ID cards to the police.

“So that’s just another risk students expose themselves to when they use a fake — this type of extortion,” Karon said. “Don’t have them, don’t use them because it is a crime, despite what some students might think.”