PC 470b

Fake ID, Driver’s License

The Definition of False Identification

California criminal law defines a “False Identification” as any driver’s license or other identification card issued by a governmental agency that has been:

  • altered,
  • falsified,
  • forged,
  • duplicated,
  • reproduced, or
  • counterfeited

The most common fake ID includes those that look like driving licences, but there are others as well. Some of the most common forms of “Fake IDs” are:

  • State Drivers Licence
  • State Identification Card
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Social Security Card
  • State or Federal Employee ID
  • Student ID

Prosecuting PC 470b

In order to be convicted with the crime of “Possession of a Fake ID”, the accused must display, or possess a fake identification, with the intent to use that fake ID to commit a forgery. Forgery is the intent to commit fraud or deliberately deceive a person.

The defendant does not actually need to be using the ID. However, the prosecutor must prove that you were planning to use it in order to get a conviction (intent).


Penal Code 470b, aka ‘fake identification’ is what is known as a “wobbler” This means that it is a crime that may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In making the decision as to felony or misdemeanor, the prosecutor will usually consider the following:

  • The details/seriousness of the allegations, and
  • The defendant’s criminal history

It is entirely up to the District Attorney as to whether the defendant will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Here are the penalties for each:

Misdemeanor Penalties

  1. Misdemeanor (summary) probation;
  2. Up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or
  3. A fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000)

Felony Penalties

  1. Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in county jail; and/or
  2. A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000)

Defending PC 470b

Simply being in possession of a “fake ID” is not enough to convict a person of PC 470b. It must be proven that:

  • The ID was indeed a “Fake ID” defined by law
  • The “Fake ID” was actually in the person’s possession,
  • The person knew the ID was a “Fake ID”,
  • The person presented the “Fake ID” with the intent to defraud

If you have a “Fake ID” in your possession, there may be plenty of reasons you had it with you. For instance, you did not know it was fake. You had someone else’s ID with you because they left it in your car and you planned on returning it to them. You never intended on using the ID, and you have it for another reason that is not malicious in nature.

If you or a loved one is being charged with possessing a Fake ID, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and call you back ASAP. Our experienced and assiduous criminal defense team will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.


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