Jon Kelly with BBC News Magazine says that fake ID is an American rite
of passage, based on the fact that so many college kids, because they’re
in college, drink. Yet the legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21. That’s
higher than pretty much every other country. In Maryland, for example,
one lawyer says fake IDs are “endemic” and that getting busted for
underage drinking and possession of fake ID can result in a criminal record.
The criminal record, in turn, can impact a young person’s future.
The news is worse for those charged with actually creating the fake IDs.
Kelly calls it a lucrative business. One anecdote describes a couple students
with a laptop and laminating machine in a dorm room, doing 100 or 200
fake IDs per week. The punishment for creating IDs – as opposed
to just using one in a liquor store or bar – can mean months or
years behind bars, depending on the circumstances.
Even though underage drinking is a misdemeanor in Maryland, it can still
have an impact on a student’s life in terms of jobs and other opportunities.