Charges following getting caught with fake ID

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Charges following getting caught with fake ID

Hello, I am 18 years old and am
currently a freshman in college.
Recently I got caught having and using
the a fake ID. The charges I was
charged with are false identification,
buying alcohol underage, and pretending
to be 21 I guess. The fines all add up
to around 1,000. I guess the question
I have is whether I should plead guilty
to them and not go into court or
whether I should plead not guilty and
see where that takes me. Thanks

Asked on February 24, 2016 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Before you plead to anything, arrange a couple of consultations with attorneys.  Many will offer free consultations these days and it's well worth the time.
The reason you want to visit with an attorney is to understand the strength/weaknesses of the case against you and the consequences of your plea.  If the case against you is crap, then you shouldn't plead guilty.  If you are guilty, then you want to negotiate the best deal possible.... and a local attorney will be able to better tell you how to get that deal.  Many jurisdictions now offer 'diversion' programs to young, first time offenders.  This means that you can do certain things (like community service) in order to 'earn' a dismissal of your case. 
If there is a way to get a dismissal through a program like this, you should try to pursue it because you are so young.  I don't know if you are attending college on a scholarship program, but some scholarships and financial aid packages will disqualify you from any future awards if you are conviction.  So... before you enter a plea, you need to understand the effect that it may or may not have on your college career.  If you enter a strait up plea of guilty, it could also affect certain employment opportunities.   Many government agencies will not accept you for employment when you have any type of criminal history.  Bottom line, you need to understand all the consequences of your plea.  It may be worth the extra funds to hire an attorney to get a better deal.


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