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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Police work to curb fake ID use

As the University of Wisconsin battles with college binge-drinking, police deem the fight to eliminate fake identification a major facet in the war against high-risk alcohol consumption.

The use of fake IDs is symptomatic of the binge-drinking many students partake in, and it is this behavior that forces police to crack down, said Lt. Eric Holen of the UW Police Department.

“The message we want to send is that it is high-risk drinking behavior we are proactive about,” Holen said. “Therefore, if the means to high risk behavior is a fake ID, it is a problem we need to address.”

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The UW Police Department abides by state guidelines. According to Wisconsin state statute, the penalty for possessing false identification for persons 17 to 20 years old is $491.

Campus police across the country expressed similar responses when asked which was the more serious offense — using a manufactured fake or using someone else’s real identification as one’s own.

“It is a question of how that person came into possession of the false identification,” said Mitch Celaya, press information officer at the University of California-Los Angeles Police Department. “It can be worse to use someone’s real ID since the real person may not have consented to your using the ID.”

Lieutenant Davis Trimmer of the Duke Campus Police agreed.

“The penalties for using a fake fake or a real fake is the same unless you manufactured it,” he said.

At Duke University, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 100 hours of community service may be required of a person in possession, Trimmer said. A Duke University student is currently under investigation by the United States Secret Service for allegedly creating fake IDs from his campus apartment.

While manufacturers of fake IDs face the severest penalties, steep punishments for fake ID users exist as well.

Possession of false identification previously resulted in an infraction, which is similar to a parking ticket. Now, it is considered a Class I misdemeanor offense and stays on an individual’s permanent record.

Police officers look for several clues in determining whether an ID is real. These include correct state holograms, printing errors like signatures that are supposed to go across the picture, lamination that has been peeled back and unusual thickness.

“I think [using fake IDs] is a problem on most college campuses,” Trimmer said, adding that mandating students to carry university identification with them at all times helps enforce fake ID laws. “At Duke, students are required to carry their student IDs everywhere they go. It is very easy to tell if a student is lying, too. If they say they left their ID up in their room, we’ll offer to escort them to get it. Then it turns into, ‘Well, I lost it!'”

Although penalties are worsening for fake ID offenders, police officials recognize that the pull to get alcohol will cause a significant number of students to continue using false identification to enter bars.

“If a place will serve, a student will try to drink there with a fake ID,” Celaya said.

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