Possession of Fake Driver’s License or Identification Card – Penal Code 470b

California Penal Code Section 470b defines possession of a fake driver’s license or ID card, which makes it a crime to display or possess a fake identification if there was an intent to commit fraud or a forgery.

Penal Code 470b covers any form of government-issued identification card that was forged or altered, and you don’t have to actually use the fake to be charged with his offense – simple possession is sufficient for a conviction.

The fake identification includes a driver’s license or any type of card use for identification that has been altered, duplicated, reproduced, forged, or counterfeited.

The phrase “intent to commit fraud” simply means your intent for using the fake ID was to deceive. For instance, a minor using fake ID to purchase alcohol – or a situation where you may have used fake identification to cash a check that was in another person’s name.  Another example includes undocumented immigrants using fake ID cards to avoid arrest or to secure California state benefits.

PC 470b is a “wobbler” meaning it can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony crime and normally based of the details of the case and your criminal record.

To give readers useful information about Penal Code 470b possession of a fake driver’s license or ID card charges, our California criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.

Definition of PC 470b Possessing Fake Identification

California Penal Code 470b defines possession of or displaying a fake identification:

Any person who alters, falsifies, forges, duplicates, counterfeits, reproduces a driver’s license or government issued identification card with intent to commit fraud or forgery.

The various forms of fake identification cards included in under Penal Code 470b include:

  • A state driver’s license
  • A state identification card
  • United States passport
  • Social Security card
  • Military Identification card
  • Student identification card
  • State of federal employee identification card

Again, you are not required to actually use the fake ID to be charged with a crime – just possession or control only is enough.

Prosecution of a PC 470b Fake Identification Case

To be found guilty of Penal Code 470b possession of a fake identification case, the prosecutor must prove – beyond any reasonable doubt – all of the “elements of the crime” listed under CALCRIM 1921 Jury Instructions:

  • You possessed – or displayed – a driver’s license or identification card
  • The identification had been altered, forged, duplicated, or counterfeit
  • You knew the identification was altered or forged
  • Your intent was to use the fake ID to commit fraud or forgery

The most common type of a fake ID used is a California driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Again, it’s important to recall the crucial terms above in the definition of possession or displaying a fake ID crime – altered, falsified, forged, duplicated, reproduced, or counterfeited.

There are also many was to possess a fake ID – such as a real California driver’s license modified to include a false date of birth.

Penalties for PC 470b Possession of Fake ID

Again, Penal Code 470b possession of a fake driver’s license or identification is known as a “wobbler” crime – giving the prosecutor the discretion to file either misdemeanor or felony charges – typically based on the details of the case and criminal record.

If convicted of a misdemeanor case of PC 470b possession a fake identification, you will be facing following legal penalties:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • Misdemeanor summary probation

If convicted of a PC 470b felony case of possession or displaying a fake ID, you will be facing the following penalties:

  • 16 months, 2 or 3 years in a county jail
  • A fine up to $10,000
  • Formal felony probation

It should be noted in cases where a minor attempt to use fake identification to purchase alcohol or other prohibited items, the case will be processed through the Los Angeles County juvenile court system.

Related California Offenses for Penal Code 470b

Penal Code 470 – Forgery
Penal Code 470a – Forgery of a License or ID Card
Penal Code 472 – Forgery of a Public Seal
Vehicle Code 12951 – Failing to Display Driver’s License
Vehicle Code 13004 – Unlawful Acts with Identification Cards
Vehicle Code 14610 – Unlawful Acts with Driver’s License

Fighting Charges of PC 470b Possessing Fake Identification

If you have been accused of Penal Code 470b possession of a fake driver’s license or identification card, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can use a variety of strategies for best possible outcome. We need to first review the details of the case to decide on a strategy. The most common defenses include:

Lack of knowledge identification was fake or altered

Recall the elements of the crime above that shows that the prosecutor has the burden of proof that you knew the identification was fake or altered. Since they have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, we might be able to make an argument you simply didn’t know the ID was fake or had been modified. If successful, you have a good chance at avoiding a conviction.

Lack of intent to commit forgery or fraud

Again, recall the elements of the crime above that state you must have had intent to commit forgery or fraud to be convicted – even though you can still be found guilty for simple possession or displaying a fake identification – without ever using it. We might be able to argue there is insufficient evidence to prove you had the required intent to commit fraud or forgery.

If you were accused of possessing or displaying a fake driver’s license or government issued identification card included in California Penal Code 470b, call our defense lawyers to review the case. We have track record of success and will work to get the charges reduced to a lesser offense of dismissed.

Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We offer a free case evaluation at (424) 372-3112.