Ask a Cop


Hey Cop,

Let me start off by complaining about the Utah liquor laws (again) before going into my questions. I’ve never understood why, if someone is under 21 but over 18 they’re not allowed to be in a room that serves alcohol in Utah. Why can’t we do what other states do and just put the obnoxious black X’s on kids hands or require all real adults to wear wristbands to buy drinks?
I realize these aren’t the most effective ways of keeping people under 21 from drinking, but it really puts a damper on my youth experience when my favorite band comes to town and I can’t go because I won’t be 21 for a few more months. I wish, I really wish, I could just bargain with the bouncer and promise to be a good, quiet little nondrinker just to get inside.
My other question is about fake ID’s. Someone told me that the penalty is greater for getting caught borrowing an actual person’s real ID that isn’t you than it is to get caught with a fake ID you purchased on the internet. Which is more shady? Borrowing my roommates sister’s ID or wiring $100 to a hacker in the Ukraine that will mail me a fully scannable ID (which, by the way, according to websites, can be used to falsify identification in bigger crimes like embezzlement)? I would think the latter, but apparently I’m wrong.
Sincerely, Diane Smithfield-Haverly
PS. by the time this is published I’ll be 21, but I still want to know the answer.
Dear DSH:
I too, don’t like or understand liquor laws in this country. Let me vent for a sec. An 18-year-old can be a soldier for this country, die for this country, but he or she can’t legally drink alcohol as a professional soldier for this country until three years after he or she could have died for this country? And, the day before you turn 21, you can’t drink and you can’t be a cop, but the next day you can be both? How did one day change anything? Putting an age limit to imbibe has failed. As drug use becomes more tolerated and legalized in this country, do we really think a get-high age will work? Even 60-year-old adults suck at being drunk or high. I’m a fan of a responsibility test, like a driver’s license exam, but it would calibrate someone’s stability to drink, get high and maybe reproduce. I read you as responsible. You’d pass the test, and regardless of your proclivity to drink or get stoned, you’d have the “license” and could go see your band. Due to religious influences in this area, some people believe that 18- to 21-year-olds just seeing liquor being consumed will lead to their young demise. The Zion Curtain will slam down on your X marker.

There’s more to this, but you’ll be interested in two Utah criminal codes associated with false IDs: 76.6.1105 –possession of a fake ID (Class A Misdemeanor for one fake ID, and a felony for two!), and 76.6.1102 – when your fake ID has a real person’s info (Felony!). So, you’re better off to wire a “hacker” (I think Chinese scannables are the best I’ve seen) than to use a real person’s identification. And know that a scannable won’t pass a cop test.
Have a question for the cop?
Email him at