Impersonating an Officer
Impersonating an officer is a crime that is often committed in order to assert police-like authority during the act of another crime. Posing as a law enforcement officer enables the offender to legitimize the appearance of an illegal act, such as burglary, making a traffic stop, or detaining a person for a search. It is rare for a person to face these charges without also being charged with other crimes.
Instances of this can be as minor as using flashing lights to get through traffic to kidnapping.
The following are examples of impersonating a law enforcement officer:
- Verbal identification: The impostor declares to the unsuspecting victim(s) that they are a police officer or other law enforcement agent.
- Fake Badge or Card: The impostor displays a police-like badge or identification card to the victim(s). It may be very difficult to differentiate between a real and fake badge, as some duplicates are very similar to a real badge. As was the case with one of the above mentioned examples, a person may be able to attain a real, but expired badge.
- Fake vehicle: The impostor places police lights (these can be either permanently mounted onto the car or temporary lights magnetically attached to the cartop), decals, sirens, or other equipment on a vehicle to disguise it as a police car and enable the offender to pass through traffic, make traffic stops, or even arrests.
Most of the items listed above can be easily attained by anyone, especially with the advent of the internet. This accessibility is what makes this such a potentially dangerous crime, as it makes other acts that the person may commit appear legitimate.
The punishment for the crime itself is relatively minor, with it being only a misdemeanor offense. Still, most jurisdictions will take this charge – and those often accompanied with it – seriously. Any person facing this charge must get an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney to help fight this case. Contact us immediately.