BY TANYA WILLIAMS // MARCH 31, 2014 //
It’s no surprise that underage drinking happens on college campuses. However, you might be surprised by just how much happens off campus, in restaurants and bars.
In 2002, a Harvard University study found that nearly 18 percent of underage college students owned and used false identification. More recently, a company in Charlottesville, Va., was shut down in May 2013 for making and selling fake ID’s. More than 20,000 college students from around the country were identified as purchasers of counterfeit IDs; owners of the company were charged with an array of federal crimes.
Tony Nalli, owner of The Last Shot restaurant and sports bar in Stoughton, a popular hangout among Curry students, said a lot of young people attempt to use fake IDs.
“I’d say fake IDs are getting better and harder to detect,” said Nalli. “We can detect a fake with a hologram book, but we don’t have any electronic technology yet….If they have a fake, we don’t let them in and we take away their ID.”
But he also understands why students try.
“Kids want to go out and drink before they are of age,” he said.
Waiting to be 21 has become too long for many partygoers, however sophomore Alex Cartier said he does not mind the wait.
“I don’t have a fake ID because I don’t think it is worth the money, and it’s not a guarantee,” said Cartier, a nursing major. “I don’t trust sending $150 all the way to China to get a bad fake ID.”
Getting a fake ID is tempting for many college students. However, many minors don’t realize the consequences they could face if caught. In Massachusetts, the fine is $300 and a suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days.
And Massachusetts bartenders, waitstaffs and doormen are becoming more savvy detecting fake IDs. Some are so concerned with liability that they turn away young-looking people with out-of-state IDs, fake or not.
“I know that the majority of main Boston bars are pretty strict,” said Curry senior Elton Silva, a management and communication double-major. “I know someone who used [a fake] at a bar and got it confiscated.”
Nalli said he similarly does not tolerate fakes at his bar. The reasoning is simple: “We are liable for everything and everyone that comes through our bar.”