Some college students, or anyone under 21 for that matter, think going out in downtown Nashville just can't be done without a fake id. Many of the local bars require patrons to be 21 or older to gain entrance.
The 21 and over law was designed to protect those under 21 from second hand cigarette smoke as it forced bar and restaurant owners that allow smoking to go to 21 and up; however, many places chose to go to 21 and up so as not to lose their smoking customers and those just under 21 feel the natural curiosity to check out these places. They go with their fellow under 21 friends or are urged to tag along their 21 year old friends. In either case, a false identification showing they are 21 or older is a basic requirement.
While this warning cannot come soon enough for many, those considering using a fake id should think twice. Nashville Metro Police Officers are often waiting along Broadway and Second Avenue as bouncers routinely turn those using fake ids over to police officers for arrest. In most cases, a misdemeanor citation is given in lieu of a physical arrest, but such has the same legal significance of being physically arrested. A charge of false identification is a class A misdemeanor citation and thus carries a possible jail sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, the same maximum punishment as say a domestic assault or DUI. Tennessee actually has at least 3 separate offenses from which a police officer could choose to charge someone in possession of a false identification or in possession of alcoholic beverages: Tennessee Code Annotated 57-3-412, 57-4-203, and 57-5-301. The possible penalties vary from mandatory minimums in terms of community service and fines to mandatory loss of driving privileges and jail time depending on the various factors specified by statute.
If you are under 21, before you consider using a false identification at Paradise Park, Rippy's, or any of the other establishments along Broadway or Second Avenue, it would be wise to consider the consequences. Some Vanderbilt and Belmont students have been known to find this out the hard way. ABC officers (Alcohol Beverage Commission) have also been known to stake out Bridgestone Arena (Nashville Arena) and catch those under 21 buying beer for themselves or others at Predators games or concerts.
If you have already been charged with a criminal offense, it would be wise to immediately contact a criminal defense attorney. Once a criminal conviction is entered, it lasts a lifetime. A good criminal defense attorney may be able to help you negotiate a resolution of your case that would avoid a criminal conviction.