With the COVID-19 pandemic and Ohio’s public health restrictions coming to a close, more and more restaurants, bars, and businesses are able to open up again. This will mean that more people will feel comfortable gathering socially and consuming alcohol. With summer approaching and the school year ending, it is important to keep in mind Ohio’s underage consumption and fake ID laws.
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.69, underage possession or consumption is a first-degree misdemeanor offense. This means that it carries a maximum of one-hundred eighty days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Under the law, much more than just drinking alcohol is forbidden. Under ORC 4301.69(E)(1), it is illegal for an individual who is under 21 years of age to order, pay for, share the cost of, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume an intoxicating beer or liquor. To most people’s surprise, even holding a case of beer in a store can be grounds for an underage ticket.
The most common charge associated with an underage offense is driver’s license misrepresentation, or possessing a fake ID. Under Ohio Revised Code 4507.30, possessing, using, or displaying a fake license is a first-degree misdemeanor. Similar to Ohio’s underage offense, this charge can carry up to one-hundred eighty days in jail and a $1,000 fine. It is very important to note that a fake ID charge is a traffic offense under Ohio law. In Ohio, no traffic offense is expungable. Consequently, if you are convicted of possessing a fake ID, this charge will be on your record forever.
If you are under the age of 21 and possessing a fake ID to buy alcohol this summer, it is very important to know that it is not just police officers who may stop you and issue you summons to court. In order to crack down on underage possession and fake IDs, Ohio allows the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to send undercover officers to bars, restaurants, gas stations, and convenient stores all across Ohio. These individuals will be in plain clothes and simply approach you and ask for your age and license. The patrol often targets college bars and areas in which underage individuals are known to associate. Most recently, Butler and Clermont County have been high target areas and we have seen an increase in undercover officer activity.
If you or someone you know has been charged with an underage charge, fake ID, or any crime, we at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima would be happy to sit down with you and speak about your case. Our criminal team practices throughout southwest Ohio and has extensive with these types of cases. It is important to us that you feel confident as you move through the legal system and truly understand your rights and options moving forward. If you need help or have questions, our consultations are free, and we would be happy to assist you. Please call us at 513-496-0134.