Anyone looking online for information about spotting fake Missouri identification cards will find more sites offering these false documents than sites that actually help with spotting them. It is quite easy today to buy fake identification online that looks authentic.
This makes it tough for businesses who are required by law to check IDs. It is helpful to have complete background information on how these fakes are created and exactly what to look for when it's time to check someone's ID.
Spot Borrowed Identification Cards
There is no foolproof manner for a person selling alcohol or tobacco to determine whether an ID card is authentic or fake. This is true in Missouri as well as in other U.S. states. New technology allows production of false identification cards that can be scanned, so using a scanner is not sufficient. These include driver's licenses from almost every state, including Missouri.
Note that the most common types of fake IDs are not purchased, but borrowed. Generally, borrowed fake IDs constitute some 95 percent of ID fraud cases. Those underage often borrow their IDs from older siblings or get them from friends or acquaintances within their personal networks. That means that a close look for discrepancies in appearance, height or even hairstyle can sometimes locate a fake.
Spot Forged Identification Cards
Some fake IDs are forged or altered. It is sometimes possible to catch a front-forged ID by using basic ID scanners. If the barcode won't scan, the ID is probably forged. The scanner should also show if the barcode contains encoded information, which also indicates a fraud. If both front and back are both forged, catch the fraud by running the code through a reputable ID database.
One feature that indicates edited identification cards are chalking marks visible under a black light when someone removes the birth date and name from an original ID. These appear as whiter-than-usual marks when viewed under a black light. UV lights can also reveal glue marks on the sides and edges of IDs.
Get to Know Missouri State ID Cards
One of the best ways to catch fake ID is to become very familiar with the Missouri driver's license and ID cards. They were redesigned recently, and new security features were added. It is important for anyone who will be checking IDs to become familiar with the features. They include:
- Pre-printed fine-line information located in the background underneath every part of the card including the photo.
- Overlapping data.
- Compliant or noncompliant REAL ID indicator in the upper right corner.
- Laser perforation of a dogwood flower.
- Laser engraved, tactile date of birth in the lower right-hand corner.
- Second, ghost image portrait on the front, overlapped with the issue date.
- Redundant date and two barcodes on the back.
There are also features on the front and back of the card that glow green under a UV light. And driver licenses to those under 21 are issued in vertical, not horizontal format.
Why Do Fake IDs Exist?
Most people who purchase fake identification wish to purchase alcohol or tobacco in states that impose age limitations. A false identification document that contains a different birthday can permit the bearer to gain entry to bars, nightclubs and even liquor stores where they would normally not be allowed.
Generally, the person wants an ID card that makes them appear older than they are in order to buy alcohol or tobacco products. Alternatively, they may borrow the ID card of someone older and try to pass it off as their own.
These practices are illegal in every state, including Missouri. They can result in fines and prosecution not just for the person that presents the fake ID, but also for a Missouri business that negligently accepts it.
Missouri Age Limits for Alcohol
In Missouri, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. It is against state law for anyone younger than 21 to consume, purchase or possess alcohol. This means that many college students are too young to buy not just hard alcohol, but even a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine.
They are only permitted to drink alcohol if a parent or legal guardian provides the alcohol. Needless to say, students and other young people sometimes try to get around the rule with fake IDs.
Yet there are serious sanctions for a violation of this underage drinking law. Anyone who consumes or possesses alcohol in violation of the age restriction can be charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense. This can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or jail for up to a year. There will also be court costs and attorney's fees to pay.
Providing Alcohol to Minors
What about giving a minor a beer or a bottle of alcohol? Distribution to a person under 21 years old is also a misdemeanor in Missouri. The penalties for distribution, even if not a sale, are a fine and up to a year in jail. This means that in a party situation, handing a minor a beer can have serious consequences.
Missouri Drinking and Driving Laws
Any driver who operates a motor vehicle in Missouri while intoxicated can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated, also called a DWI. What level of blood alcohol will get a driver charged by law enforcement? While the ordinary blood alcohol content (BAC) for a DWI is 0.08 or higher, there are special rules for those who are too young to legally drink in the state.
Under Missouri's Zero Tolerance Law, anyone younger than 21 with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or greater may have their license revoked on the spot. Most people in Missouri who are charged with DWIs are convicted and face thousands of dollars in fines, increased insurance premiums and attorney's fees, as well as a criminal record. If the driver is a student, they may face school sanctions.
Missouri Tobacco Laws
The legal age for buying tobacco products under Missouri state law is 18. However, under federal law, the legal age for sales of any and all tobacco and nicotine products is 21 years old according to legislation signed into law in December, 2019.
However, not every state has passed a law raising the age of sale for all tobacco products from 18 years of age to 21. Missouri is one that has not, but almost half of Missouri’s population lives in a community or municipality that has enacted local laws raising the age to buy tobacco to 21.
Under state law, a tobacco seller need only ask for proof of age from a young person wishing to buy these products if “an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that such prospective purchaser or recipient may be under the age of eighteen.”
- UCMO: Missouri Alcohol Law - Frequently Asked Questions
- ABSEC: How to Spot Fake IDs
- Alcohol Problems and Solutions: Missouri Alcohol Laws: It’s Wise to Know Them
- Tobacco Free Mizzou: Tobacco 21 and the State of Missouri
- Fake IDs.com: FAQs
- WebstaurantStore: How to Spot a Fake ID
- Missouri Department of Revenue: Driver License Brochure
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.