A new policy for minors caught with false identification allows
no room for mistakes after a first offense, said Kristen Larcom,
the Ann Arbor city assistant attorney.

According to the new policy, minors caught with a fake ID will
have only one opportunity to remove an offense from their permanent
records by completing community service and substance awareness
programs.

Under the old policy, a minor can be caught with a fake ID an
indefinite number of times and still be able to dismiss all those
charges from the permanent record, so long as that individual
complies with the terms of the Holmes Youthful Training Act.

The act includes a choice of 25 hours of community service or
two days in a jail work program and a $250 dollars in costs and
fines, Larcom said. Alcohol-related programs are also a part of the
program if appropriate to the minor.

Previously, if the minor complied with these measures —
meaning that the individual acquires no false ID offenses or
alcohol-related misdemeanors within four to six months of getting
caught with the fake ID — the charge was removed from the
permanent record. If they did not comply, they could repeat the
program and dismiss the charges from their permanent record.

But the city no longer offers repeat offenders the chance to
clear their records, Larcom said.

“If you’ve done it once, you should learn your
lesson,” she said. “If you do it again (you get) no
more chances.”

Larcom said the courts in Ann Arbor’s 15th district
consulted with the defense bar and the attorneys from the Washtenaw
Country Prosecutor’s Office to arrive at the decision to
revise the old law.

Doug Lewis of Student Legal Services at the University also
stated in an earlier interview that he would be consulted by the
jude before the policy was put into effect. Lewis did not comment
further on the issue.

Keith Ziesloft, administrator for the 15th district courts, did
not confirm Larcom’s claim on whether a new policy regarding
fake IDs has been approved yet.

“It is inappropriate for the judges to comment on pending
legislation,” he said. Ziesloft added that he did not expect
an announcement on revisions to the law.

When later asked to confirm whether the policy was still
pending, Larcom said it had been approved.

Larcom said the attorney’s office considered false
identification a serious crime and wanted to send a stronger signal
to minors who take the matter lightly.

“We recognize that people are doing it for innocent
reasons. They just want to get in to a club and socialize with
their friends,” she said. “But to use a license that is
altered, or someone else’s license, is very similar to
identity theft, which is a huge problem.”

Currently, the Holmes program is offered only to offenders who
plead guilty in court. Those who complete a trial and are convicted
of the offense do not always have the program available to
them.

The decision is in the judges’ hands and varies by case.
The new law treats convicted offenders the same way, Larcom
said.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said DPS had
not yet been informed of a new policy.

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