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Florida Statute 322.212 specifically addresses the unauthorized possession of, and other unlawful acts relating to, driver licenses or identification cards. Violating this law can result in severe consequences, including felony charges. If you're someone who might be charged with a crime in Florida, understanding this law is crucial.
Unlawful Possession And Display
According to Section 322.212(1)(a), it's unlawful to knowingly have in your possession or display any fake, counterfeit, or unlawfully issued driver license or identification card. This also includes "instruments in the similitude" of a driver license, meaning anything that looks like a driver license but isn't one.
Manufacturing Or Selling Fake Licenses
Section 322.212(1)(d) prohibits knowingly selling, manufacturing, or delivering fake or unlawfully issued driver licenses. Law enforcement agencies, including the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, can investigate violations of this part.
Providing False Information
Under Section 322.212(5)(a), it is illegal to use a false or fictitious name when applying for a driver license or identification card. The statute also makes it unlawful to knowingly make a false statement or conceal a material fact when applying for these documents.
What Are The Penalties?
Felony Of The Third Degree
Violating most provisions of this statute is a 3rd-degree felony. This could result in a prison term of up to 5 years or a fine up to $5,000, or both.
Misdemeanor Of The Second Degree
Violating Section 322.212(5)(a) by providing a false age or Section 322.212(5)(b) by altering the date of birth on a driver license or identification card is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. This is typically punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500, or both.
If you are convicted of providing false information when applying for a commercial driver license, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year, as per Section 322.212(7).
Exploring Specific Legal Defenses For Violating Florida Statute 322.212
The Element Of "Knowingly"
One of the recurring themes in Florida Statute 322.212 is that the individual must "knowingly" commit the offense, whether it's possession, manufacturing, or providing false information. This means you can argue:
Lack Of Knowledge
If you were unaware that the ID or driver's license was fake, forged, or altered, you might be able to use this as a defense. You'd need to provide evidence or circumstances that support your claim of not knowing the unlawfulness of the item in question.
Legitimate Possession For Lawful Purpose
Section 322.212 does have an allowance for possessing or displaying another person's driver's license for a "lawful purpose." This opens the door for defenses such as:
If you had permission to have someone else's driver's license or identification card and it was for a lawful purpose, this could act as a defense. For example, maybe you were holding a family member's ID while they were participating in a sports event.
No Intent To Commit Fraud
If you had a fake ID but had no intentions of using it to deceive anyone, you may argue that the element of fraud or deception is missing. However, proving lack of intent can be complicated and usually requires strong evidence.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Statute 322.212
Can I Hold Someone Else's Driver License Legally?
According to the statute, you can possess or display another person's driver's license or identification card for a lawful purpose. However, "lawful purpose" is not explicitly defined in the statute, leaving it open to interpretation. Always consult legal counsel for your specific situation.
Is It Illegal For An Employee To Issue A Fake ID?
Yes, Section 322.212(3) states it is unlawful for any employee of the department to knowingly issue a driver's license or identification card to an applicant who has not fulfilled the lawful requirements.
What Happens If I Provide False Information For A Commercial Driver License?
If you're caught providing false information when applying for a commercial driver's license, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for one year, according to Section 322.212(7).
Can I Get Charged For Having An Altered ID If I Didn't Alter It Myself?
If you knowingly possess an identification card where the date of birth has been altered, you can be charged, regardless of whether you were the one who altered it.
Does The Law Only Apply To Florida-Issued IDs?
No, the term "driver's license" and "identification card" under this statute includes those issued by any state or jurisdiction that is recognized in Florida.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys At Your Service
When you're caught in the eye of a legal storm, trust the lawyers at The Watson Firm, PLLC to navigate you safely through. With years of experience in criminal defense law in FL, we are determined to ensure that your rights are protected. Stop worrying and take action today by reaching out to us at (850) 607-2929 or online.
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