Kim Reynolds, Governor
Adam Gregg, Lt. Governor
Stephen Larson, Administrator

Identification Information

Verifying an Individual’s Age

Licensees (their employees and agents) are responsible for determining whether or not an individual is old enough to lawfully consume alcoholic beverages. When licensees have doubts about a person's age, the licensee should ask for identification before selling or serving the alcoholic beverage. If after checking the ID, the licensee still has doubts, the sale should be refused.

Iowa law does not govern acceptable forms of identification. However, the Division recommends that licensees request identification - valid forms of which include a person's photo and date of birth, such as those found on a driver's license or state-issued ID card.

Iowa Code sections §123.47, 123.48 and 321.189(6)

Misrepresenting Age

It is unlawful for minors to misrepresent their age for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages from an alcoholic beverages licensee or permittee.

When licensees (their employees and agents) are charged with a sales-to-minor violation, a defense to the charge is available to them if:

  • The minor who made the purchase misrepresented their age.
  • Licensees made reasonable inquiry to determine if the purchaser was of legal age.

Iowa Code sections §123.49(3), 232.52(2) and 321.21B

Confiscating Identification

When licensees (their employees and agents) reasonably believe, based on factual evidence, that a driver's license or non-operator’s ID card has been altered, falsified or belongs to another person and is being used as identification to purchase an alcoholic beverage, licensees may confiscate the license or card from the customer.

The confiscated license or card must be turned over to the local police authority within 24 hours of confiscation. Licensees must file a written report about the circumstances at the time the license or card is given to the police authority. When licensees take possession of an ID, a receipt giving the time and hour of the confiscation must be given to the person from whom the ID was confiscated.

By turning the confiscated driver's license or non-operator’s ID card over to police authorities and filing a written report as required by law, licensees cannot be held criminally or civilly liable for seizing the license or card as long as unreasonable force was not used during the confiscation.

Iowa Code section §123.48, 321.216, 321.216A and 321.216B

Iowa Driver's Licenses and Non-Operator’s IDs

Today’s Iowa driver’s licenses and non-operator’s ID cars are designed to be tamper-proof. An attempt to alter the printed data or photo results in noticeable destruction of the photo and printing on the license.

To protect against alteration and counterfeiting, the following features are incorporated into the license and ID card.

Issued beginning July 1, 2001

General features:

  • Header blue = driver's license; maroon = nondriver's license; green = commercial driver's license; plum = intermediate; yellow = instruction.
  • License or ID number is printed in black, under header.
  • Signature appears under text.
  • Expiration date printed in black.
  • Medical alert, organ donor, medical advance directive, deaf, and hearing-impaired identifiers may be printed in lower right-hand corner.

Minor’s information:

  • Card is printed on a vertical plane.
  • Horizontal security overlay of DOT logo printed vertically in ultraviolet-sensitive ink across license face.
  • Horizontal security overlay of DOT logo printed vertically in ultraviolet-sensitive ink across license face.
  • “Under 18/21 until (specified date)” printed in red within red border over photo.
  • Name and address printed in red ink.
  • Last two digits of date of birth (DOB) for persons under 21 in red under “Expires.”

Security features:

  • Director’s signature appears vertically overlapping edge of photo.
  • The photo is placed on a blue background.
  • State seal appears under DOB.
  • “IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION” printed diagonally in ultraviolet-sensitive ink.
  • Horizontal security overlay of DOT logo printed diagonally in ultraviolet- sensitive ink across license face.
  • Last digit of audit number and the last digit of the DOB match.
  • Vertical micoprinted lines appear on the back of the card in the lower right and left hand corners.

Issued December 1999 to July 1, 2001

General features:

  • Header blue = driver's license; maroon = nondriver's license; green = commercial driver's license; plum = intermediate; yellow = instruction.
  • License or ID number is printed in black, under header.
  • Signature appears under text.
  • Expiration date printed in black.
  • Medical alert, organ donor, medical advance directive, deaf, and hearing-impaired identifiers may be printed in lower right-hand corner.

Minor’s information:

  • “Under 18/21 until (specified date)” printed in red within red border under photo.
  • Name and address printed in red.
  • Last two digits of date of birth (DOB) for persons under 21 in red under “Expires.”

Security features:

  • Director’s signature and station number appear vertically overlapping edge of photo.
  • Photo is placed on a blue background.
  • State seal appears under DOB.
  • “State of Iowa” microprinting for signature line and around state seal.
  • “IOWA” printed diagonally and across DOB line in ultraviolet-sensitive ink.
  • Horizontal security overlay of “Iowa Department of Transportation” across license face.
  • Last digit of audit number and the last digit of the DOB match.

Issued September 1995 to December 1999

General features:

  • Header blue = driver's license; maroon = nondriver's license; green = commercial driver's license.
  • License or ID number is printed in black, under header.
  • Signature appears under text.
  • Medical alert, organ donor, deaf, and hearing-impaired identifiers printed in lower right-hand corner.

Minor’s information:

  • “Under 21 until (specified date)” printed in red under photo.

Security features:

  • Director’s signature and station number overlap the photo.
  • Photo is placed on a gray background.
  • Iowa seal in data field.
  • DOB and expiration date in red.
  • “State of Iowa” microprinting for signature line and around state seal.
  • “IOWA” printed diagonally in ultraviolet-sensitive ink across license face.
  • Horizontal hologram of “Iowa DOT” across license face.
  • Last digit of audit number and the last digit of the DOB match.

Helpful Hints for Checking Identification

The best way to verify someone's age is to ask for identification. Licensees (their employees and agents) should check IDs under good lighting conditions. Customers should be asked to take their identification out of their wallet so that the ID can be handled and checked for signs of alteration.

Look for:

  • The driver’s license or ID card’s expiration date. It’s not a good idea to accept expired ID’s.
  • The word “duplicate “on the front of the license or card. Someone else may have the original card.
  • Glue lines or bumpy surfaces by the picture or birth date. Uneven surfaces often indicate tampering.
  • Last digit of audit number and the last digit of the DOB match. If the numbers do not match, the DOB has more than likely been altered.
  • Consistency of numbers. The typeset for the birth date should match the lettering used on the rest of the license or card.
  • Use a blacklight, flashlight or magnifying glass for close inspection of security features such as ultraviolet printing or microprinting.
  • The state logo. A state seal or logo that is partially missing or appears altered is another clue to a fake license or card.
  • Pin holes on the surface. Bleach may have been inserted to “white out” certain aspects of a date.
  • The license or cards reverse side lettering. While the front may appear flawless, often counterfeiters merely photocopy the reverse side. Look for blurred lettering.
  • Size, coloring, lettering, thickness and corners. Compare the questionable ID against a “standard” ID – your own driver’s license or ID card.
  • Someone else’s license or card. Make sure the photo, height and weight on the card match the person in front of you.
  • If it is an out-of-state license or card, or for any reason looks unfamiliar to you, use an ID checking guide. This is especially important in college and tourist communities.

If an ID is questionable:

  • Ask for a second ID. Individuals with fake ID’s rarely carry back-up information.
  • Quiz the person about basic information on the license or card, such as birth date, middle initial, zip code, etc.

If licensees (their employees and agents) suspect that the ID has been altered or belongs to another person, the licensee should refuse the sale or service. An alcoholic beverages license allows – but does not require licensee to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.

Calculating Age

A common error in calculating age is to forget to verify if the presenter has had a birthday in the current calendar year. To help avoid this pitfall, use the following jingle:

  • Add twenty plus one; have they had their birthday fun?

Printed from the website on September 19, 2017 at 8:48am.