East Carolina University and the ECU Police Department are enacting stricter consequences for students who are caught using fake IDs to deter and protect students from criminal and educational violations.
ECU Police Chief, Jon Barnwell, said Pitt County has seen an increase in the use of fake IDs recently and ECU is implementing new actions to help deter students from using fake IDs.
In the past, students who were caught with a fake ID were able to complete certain classes and participate in community service to receive a dismissal on their case, according to Barnwell. However, students now face higher consequences.
An automatic dismissal is no longer an option for students, Barnwell said, and in order for charges to be dropped, students must now earn no additional charges for a full year after receiving the first offense to receive a dismissal.
Barnwell said students who receive a second offense for using a fake ID will now lose their actual driver’s license for 30 days.
“Where it’s really gotten stronger has been the second offense, where if you’re caught using a fake ID, you’ll lose your license for 30 days as well,” Barnwell said.
Barnwell said these offenses will stay on students’ records and could potentially affect their admission into graduate school or employment opportunities in the future.
Students who use a fake ID will get caught, Barnwell said. ECU PD is utilizing an app that is 100 percent accurate, Age ID, to scan the barcodes of IDs to verify their authenticity.
“It’s not like just looking at the face of the ID, we’re going to scan the ID, we’ll validate that it’s a fake ID and press charges accordingly,” Barnwell said. “We just want to get out on front of this and educate our students so that they don’t get in trouble.”
Barnwell said his goal is to never have to interact with students from a punitive standpoint and he hopes students will be educated on the consequences and make responsible decisions.
Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said offenses for the use of a fake ID would be a violation of the student code of conduct and students would have to go through the conduct violation process through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) at ECU.
Sanctioning, educational or disciplinary actions taken by the university, would depend on various other factors besides the main offense for using a fake ID, Hardy said.
Hardy said the reason behind these actions is to make students aware of what penalties they could face and help decrease the use of fake IDs in the area.
“The idea is that we want students to be aware of what the penalties are, both from the criminal side as well as from the university side and to not use these fake IDs,” Hardy said.
Hardy said students who do choose to use a fake ID will face potential difficulties in the future regarding school and employment.
“It won’t go well for them if they get caught because it can have those ramifications for down the road for those individuals that are looking at graduate or professional school or employment even,” Hardy said.
Hardy said ECU is trying to be “proactive and educational” in informing students of these actions to deter them from using fake IDs. She said protection for students is of utmost importance.
According to Hardy, fake ID ticket violations could also be a financial burden for students or their families to hire an attorney. She said the cost of missing opportunities in the future for employment or further education are even higher.
Chris Sutton, administrative lieutenant for ECU PD, said it is unfortunate there needs to be a deterrent because fake ID usage is so problematic. He said hopefully with education, there will be fewer tickets for students.
“Drinking responsibly before you’re 21, if you’re truly drinking responsibly, means that you’re not drinking alcohol,” Sutton said. “Because a responsible person wouldn’t be consuming under the age because there’s consequences and repercussions that are associated with that if you’re caught.”