Dilemma for UA's underaged: Are fake IDs worth the risk?

By Jennifer Quilici

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Please have I.D. ready. Must be 21 or over to enter.

That's what the sign reads outside The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., and these rules are the standard for every bar.

This creates a dilemma for underage UA students who want to enjoy the social scene that bars attract.

One solution some students have found is false identification.

"I think underage students use fake ID's because in Tucson the social scene is limited, and for many the social life lies in the bars," said Lexie Barker, media arts junior.

According to the Federal Advisory Committee on False Identification, "It is firmly held that the criminal use of fake ID's is a multi-billion dollar national problem."

UAPD Sgt. Brian Seastone said the use of a fake ID is a misdemeanor criminal offense and it is punishable by fines and occasionally, jail sentences.

Sarah, a business sophomore, said that it is very easy to obtain fake ID's, but the Department of Motor Vehicles said that is not the case.

"As of July 1 we have a new computer system," John Merritt, Public Information Officer of the D.M.V. said. "When somebody comes in for a driver's license or identification card, the computer pulls up the preexisting photo of the person who's name is on the two forms of ID's required to obtain the license or ID card."

If you bring somebody else's birth certificate or other form of identification to the D.M.V. it is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to $150,000 in fines and/or two years in jail, Seastone said.

Other ways students obtain fake ID's is from computers, older siblings or friends, and some people end up borrowing or purchasing ID's from other sources, like swap meets.

"We get at least 15-20 cheesy fake ID's a night," said Todd Victor, bar manager at the Rock. "I can spot a fake ID anywhere by the type of ID, the seal, the background, the picture, and the expiration date."

Victor also said that if the ID is real and if they are skeptical when they turn to the vital statistics on the card, and whether the attitude of the person is nervous or relaxed, then they will ask questions about their full name and address and their astrological sign.

James Moreno, the owner of Jaime's, 536 N. Fourth Ave., said they have people whose identification cards they are unsure about sign a log put out by the State Liquor Department that tells them what they can and cannot accept.

He said that by signing the log the bar feels a "certain amount of protection if an officer enters Jaime's and asks to see the ID."

Some students say the problems from false identification come from a lack of options for underage people.

"I believe so many people on campus drink when they're underage and use fake ID's because there are no clubs, comedy or dance, that you can or want to get into ... teen nights end up being high school nights," said Jordena Ginsburg, media arts senior.

UAPD and GAMMA (Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol) are also making an effort to cut down on fake ID's and underage drinking at fraternity and sorority parties.

People have to show ID and will be logged, banded with a bracelet, and given a beer card if they are legal.

These Greek organizations are required to have two police officers and a security guard at every party.

These policies were adopted in order to protect Greek houses from liability and to cut down on underage drinking, which often leads to the related problems of rape and drunk driving.

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