Organisations which sell false driving licences can seem so persuasive, trying to make a buyer feel that there is nothing wrong in making a purchase. In fact, owning or using a false licence will mean that you could commit fraud.
In England and Wales, the Fraud Act 2006 applies to the use of false ID of any type, including false driving licences. This Act defines three main types of fraud and creates a number of criminal offences.
Fraud by false representation
Under section 2 of the Act, you will be guilty of an offence if you dishonestly make a false representation, intending to make a gain for either for yourself anybody else or to cause loss to someone or expose them to the risk of loss. A false representation is defined as one that is untrue or misleading, and one in which the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading. So this will almost always cover any use of a false driving licence.
For example, if you use a false driving licence to obtain a mortgage, get a credit card or otherwise “prove” your identity, such as to obtain any credit, you will be guilty of fraud. The Act is wide reaching too – for example, it covers the situation where you send a copy of your false licence by email, without actually saying or doing much else.
Fraud by failure to disclose information when there is a legal duty to do so
Under section 3 of the Act, you will be guilty of an offence if you dishonestly fail to disclose information which you are under a legal duty to disclose, and if by failing to disclose the information you intend to either make a gain for either for yourself anybody else or cause loss to someone or expose them to the risk of loss.
For offences under section 2 and 3
It is immaterial whether or not any gain or loss is made or anyone is deceived.
If you are convicted of either offence you could be in prison for up to 10 years or fined, or both.
Although these offences require you to have some dishonest intention it is difficult to prove “lack” of any such intention if you have actually gone out of your way to buy a false driving licence. In considering dishonesty the law will look at the “ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people” and whether you would realise, by those standards, that this is dishonest.
Possession for use in fraud
Taking things further, section 6(1) of the Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to have a false driving licence (“any article for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud”) in their possession or under their control. This offence is committed when someone is carrying/owns a false driving licence, irrespective of whether or not they use it.
If you are convicted you could be in prison for up to 5 years or fined, or both.