NJ MVC Bans Smiling in Driver’s License Photos

Don’t say “Cheese!”

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has banned motorists from smiling in driver’s license photos, the New York Daily News reported on Saturday, September 22. The NJ MVC adopted this policy as a result of the multi-million dollar facial recognition program that the state introduced in January of 2012. According to MVC spokesman Mike Horan, an “excessively expressive” face in a driver’s license photograph could deter the facial recognition software from deterring fraudsters engaged in using fake IDs, identity theft, or “trying to get out of a DUI by getting a license under another name.”

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1, the mere possession of a false document including a driver’s license, birth certificate, or other official document that can be used to misrepresent age or other personal information used for identification is a fourth degree crime punishable by 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In the case of a minor who is caught using a fake ID, the penalty typically drops to a misdemeanor not to exceed $1000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. This is because the state more rigorously prosecutes those who use fake IDs to fraudulently misrepresent personal information to engage in high-level identity theft, than those minors seeking alcohol and cigarettes.

Nevertheless, conviction of the display or possession of a false document is a serious matter concerning a minor. These charges are often linked with even more serious crimes, such as public intoxication and driving while intoxicated. It is very important for parents to educate their children on the dangers of underage dinking and the use of fake IDSs.

If your child had been charged with the use of a fake ID in Belmar, Point Pleasant, Red Bank, or any other New Jersey municipality, it is in your best interest to avail yourself of the services of the skilled underage DWI lawyers at our law offices. Our attorneys have over 100 years of experience in New Jersey criminal matters that include Belmar and Point Pleasant underage DWI, use of fake IDs and public intoxication.

While the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall doubt that there will be a major police crackdown on “smiling” IDs, our attorneys are experts in all matters relating to New Jersey criminal and DWI defense. If you or a loved one has been charged with a New Jersey DWI, identity theft, or the use of a false identification in New Jersey, our seasoned attorneys are here to help.

With offices located conveniently throughout the state, our attorneys often represent young clients accused of using fake IDs, especially in the popular shore towns of Belmar, Point Pleasant, and Red Bank, where one of our many offices is located. In fact, the state of New Jersey is increasingly strict in regard to the usage of fake IDs. New Jersey driver’s licenses are among the most forged IDs in the country due to relatively simple security measures.