Underage college students are getting into bars more easily, and fake ID distributors around the country are cashing in major bucks. The rise of fake IDs at Miami University and other colleges is nothing new, but the consequences haven’t changed. College town bars, including those in Oxford, could be facilitating the increase of thousands of doppelgangers.
Just this September, a 19-year-old New Jersey man was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud while working in a Virginia-based operation that sold fake IDs around the country, reportedly raking in more than $3 million total. According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 48 percent of alcohol abuse among college and university students is committed by those who are underage, and incoming first-years were twice as likely to secure a fake ID after arriving on campus. With high demand, and a business that generates a lot of cash, fake IDs are not going to decrease any time soon.
At Miami, the Uptown bar scene may be part of the reason why fakes are so prevalent. With $5 cover charges at almost all bars for those under 21, many see a fake ID as “paying for itself” and the fact that most bartenders and door men are not trained to spot them makes it extremely easy, especially for good ones, to be used frequently. Bars also don’t always confiscate fakes when they initially spot them either. Even though those turned away with a fake are asked to leave the line or the bar, that doesn’t stop them from using it somewhere else. Sgt. Gregory Moore of the Oxford Police Department said if bars collected more fakes and turned them in, they would be able to catch more offenders.
The Miami Student Editorial Board understands that fakes IDs may never be fully combatted, but the board believes that bars Uptown can take more preventative actions toward spotting and confiscating fakes. Even though all students are not looking to intentionally hurt someone or themselves by using a fake, the consequences they face if they are caught are anything but pleasant. What’s more, if they get too inebriated and hurt themselves or someone else due to this new liberty, it could cause them physical and emotional pain that could ruin the rest of their college experience, or even their life.
Being caught and charged with selling fakes is just as bad, if not worse than having one and actively using it. According to Moore, if charged with ordering an ID or facilitating an order, it is a mandatory 10-year sentence in prison.
Being caught with a fake ID can result in being charged with a “Certain Acts Prohibited” citation, which is a first-degree misdemeanor, and is the same offense as an Operating Vehicle Impaired citation (OVI) or an underage drinking offences. If you plan on getting a job or working for the government and can’t get this off your record, you might have a pretty difficult time.
Having a fake ID and being caught also results in disciplinary action with Miami. According to the Miami University Student Code of Conduct, “Using or possessing a false or altered identification (including driver’s licenses and Miami University identification cards) is prohibited.” It is charged as a Code One Offense with Miami, which stays on your record as long as you attend the university, and offenders may face suspension if they have previously committed another Code One. If you have study abroad plans, good luck trying to explain that one on your application.
It is up to the discretion of the student to buy IDs or sell them, but the board believes students should be aware of the imminent consequences that will follow if they are caught. We understand the need to blow off steam on the weekends, but when you weigh the consequences of having a fake or selling it, compared to getting a job after college, it may not be worth it in the end for a year or two of “legal” alcohol consumption. Bars Uptown that employ college students should also keep these things in mind and contemplate training employees for spotting fakes in order to decrease them on campus.