What are the Penalties of Using a Fake ID?

Information on this page was reviewed by a specialist defence lawyer before being published. Click to read more.
ID card

Use of fake IDs to perpetuate crime is increasing, especially due to the rise in technology.

While the use of false identification was previously covered by fraud or forgery, identity fraud is now recognised as its own category.

While there are various reasons that people want to use false IDs, one well-known group of are those under the legal drinking age of 18.

Although self proclaiming ‘reputable’ websites might advertise fake IDs for sale for cheap prices it is better to steer clear of them.

Despite police investigating such sites last year, many are still open-for-business, selling fake IDs for as little as $60.

The websites claim they are for ‘novelty use’ and that, by purchasing, you agree not to use them for fraudulent purposes.

While you can’t go to jail for using a false ID to buy alcohol or get into a drinking venue, you can get a rather large fine.

Under the NSW Liquor Act, minors who use false evidence of their age in order to buy alcohol face fines of up to $2,200.

This penalty applies to using false ID to gain entry or remain inside a licensed venue.

The licencee or their staff can take your ID if they think it is fake, and can pass it along to police for inspection.

Another penalty you can get if you are caught using a fake ID is an extension of your provisional licence for an extra 6 months.

If police suspect someone is using a fake ID, they have the right to require that person to state their name, address and date of birth.

They can also ask for ID which shows your date of birth which you can provide on the spot, or later at the police station within a reasonable amount of time.

But fake ID can also be used for other, more sinister purposes.

They are much more serious than using a fake ID at a bottle shop and can come with a considerable prison sentence.

Some people use fake ID (or steal the ID of a real person) to apply for credit cards or bank accounts, apply for driver licences, passports or mobile phones.

Identity fraud costs Australians billions of dollars.

They can have negative impacts on victims and the community over and above the direct financial cost.

As mentioned earlier, using false identification is no longer confined to general fraud offences, which require a person to gain a financial advantage, property or cause a financial disadvantage.

Using fake ID will not necessarily always have these consequences (although sometimes it may), so it is now dealt with under separate legislation.

New offences have been created in recent years in order to make sure that these kinds of crimes can be prosecuted regardless of any actual gain or loss.

Now, even possession of identification information such as a name or address, place of birth, drivers licence, passport number or credit card, with the intent of using it to commit an indictable offence is a crime.

It doesn’t matter whether the information belongs to a real person (whether alive or dead) or an entirely fictitious one.

The maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

Dealing in this kind of information with the same intention comes can be punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

A person found in possession of equipment or materials that can be used to contain identification information with the intention to commit an indictable offence can be imprisoned for three years.

Commonwealth penalties for knowingly making, providing or possession of a false travel or identity document are 10 years in prison and/or a $110,000 fine.

If you have been charged with an offence relating to a false identity the consequences could be severe and it is best to get legal advice immediately.

Last updated on

Receive all of our articles weekly


Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with 25 years of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

Your Opinion Matters