This year, the Department of Motor Vehicles instituted software changes to its facial recognition program. The program targets individuals who are attempting to obtain or renew invalid or fraudulent driver's licenses. The program has been in effect since 2010. In the five years since it began, thousands of New Yorkers have been arrested for possessing a fake driver's license or attempting to obtain a fake driver's license.
Driving with a fraudulent license is a crime
In New York, driving on a suspended or invalid driver's license is a serious criminal charge. Additionally, people in possession of a fraudulent license may be charged with a host of other criminal offenses.
Unfortunately, such charges are relatively common. People need to drive to get to work, drive their kids to school, and accomplish day-to-day activities. And a driver's license can be suspended or revoked for any number of reasons, including three or more speeding convictions within 18 months, being convicted of a crime and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even failing to pay child support can result in a suspended or revoked driver's license.
People who are in New York without valid identification, who have fines and suspensions that are prohibitively expensive to pay off, or who have had their ability to drive revoked may therefore be tempted to obtain a license so they can still drive.
Software improvements expected to increase photo matching
The DMV's facial recognition software compares the photo of the person attempting to obtain or renew a driver's license or non-driver ID. This software will search the DMV's database for matches. If a picture matches two or more names, authorities will investigate.
The software improvements, in effect at the beginning of this year, provide a better ability to match photos, including the ability to detect subtle identification markers such as scars.
Need help combating charges?
The penalties associated with carrying a false driver's license in New York can be severe. In addition to further suspension or revocation of your license, you may be facing criminal charges, including the potential for jail time. Common charges associated with the DMV's facial recognition program include:
- Offering a false instrument for filing
- Criminal possession of a forged instrument
- Falsifying a business record
A conviction under any of these charges can result in a criminal record that can affect your ability to get a job or promotion. You may also be facing heavy fines, further license suspension or revocation, or incarceration.
If you are facing charges related to possession of a fake driver's license, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options and rights.