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At the Door: Fake Out

Yeah, it sucks when you can't slug back beers at the neighborhood bar -- we'd be lost without Casey Moores -- but is a fake ID really worth the risk?

 by Nicolle Fuggs
 published on Thursday, March 30, 2006

<em>Photo illustration</em><br>Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best with your fake ID might not be the best strategy and is definitely not worth the risk. /issues/arts/696415
Chelsea Kent / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Photo illustration
Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best with your fake ID might not be the best strategy and is definitely not worth the risk.
 

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If you want to enjoy the social scene of Arizona's hottest bars and clubs, being under the age of 21 can be frustrating.

Having a fake ID is a popular option for underage drinkers. But, is it worth it?

"Hell yeah," says Adam McKenzie,c who used to own and sell fake IDs to his friends. McKenzie, who is now a senior at ASU, grew up in Nevada and says that to have a social life in Las Vegas you have a fake ID if you aren't 21.

In high school, McKenzie says he and his friends began making fake IDs to get into the coolest bars and casinos.

"It was definitely worth it," says McKenzie.

When he came to ASU as a freshman, he says he found a huge market of underclassmen who wanted fake IDs, and since his friends made them back home for $50 bucks, they sold like hot cakes. McKenzie says he stopped selling them when the demand got too high and the anxiety of getting caught became too much. He has not sold any since.

Gabe, an ASU freshman who asked SPM not to use his last name, spent $200 to get his fake ID, and says it's definitely worth it.

"All I have to do is give this guy a passport photo and whatever information you want on it, and I never have to worry about going up to the bar at a show or something," he says.

He adds he feels strongly that he would enjoy the "freedom and comfort" of going wherever he wanted.

"I know a lot of my friends that have had fakes and have never gotten in trouble with them," he says.

But journalism student Lauren Wise says fake IDs aren't worth it, because the price of alcohol is so expensive in bars. She says she prefers house parties for this reason.

"Why pay when you can drink for free and hang out with more of your friends?" says Wise, who recently turned 21.

Although fake IDs may seem worth the risk to students, former Dos Gringos bouncer Robbie Krummel says bars are careful to catch them.

"From the bars' point of view, it's not worth it," says Krummel.

If a bar gets caught for serving to someone who is underage, it gets fined, and the bouncer also gets a fine. Krummel uses different techniques to tell if an ID is fake, such as running his fingernail across the bar code on the back, asking questions like, "What's your sign?" or asking bar-goers to write their signature to see if it matches up with the one on the ID.

Of course, the Tempe Police Department says that fake IDs are not worth the legal repercussions if you get caught.

"No way, the risks far outweigh the benefits," says Sgt. Dan Masters of the Tempe Police Department. Masters says police pick up at least a dozen fake IDs every weekend, and some even result in arrests. According to Masters, you can receive fines, jail time or be eligible for a diversion program if you're found with a fake.

Possession of a fake ID, lying about it and buying alcohol with it are all criminal citations.

Even though not all of the students interviewed agreed on whether it was worth it to use a fake ID or not, they all echoed something about the hypocrisy of the drinking age in this country. Wise says if the drinking age were younger it probably wouldn't be such a big deal.

"Kids here get so drunk because they drink a lot before they go out because they know they can't drink when they go out," said the ASU freshman.

McKenzie agrees.

"It's bullshit that we can go to war and die for our country when you're 18, but we can't sit at a bar and order a beer," he says.

Reach the reporter at nicolle.fuggs@asu.edu.



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