Falsely Impersonating an Officer
Impersonating an officer is a serious offense in Florida that carries strict penalties. Under Florida Statute 843.08, an individual may be accused of this crime for dressing up and pretending to be a police officer or taking it upon themselves to act as an officer. This is illegal and charged as a third-degree felony because it’s vital that people in an emergency can trust law enforcement without being suspicious that they are criminals in disguise or someone making a joke.
If you’ve been accused of impersonating an officer in Florida, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. The Umansky Law Firm in Orlando defends people across Central Florida who have been accused of or charged with a crime. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, we make your defense our highest priority. Impersonating an officer carries significant legal consequences that can have long-lasting effects on your life. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office and speak with a knowledgeable defense lawyer about your situation.
How Could an Innocent Person Be Arrested for Impersonating an Officer in Florida?
There are cases where innocent people are accused of impersonating officers in situations where they have honest and good intentions. For example, an innocent individual may be charged with this criminal offense in any of the following cases:
- A security guard is escorting a funeral and behaving excessively like law enforcement
- A security guard goes to a restaurant during their lunch break while dressed in full uniform
- An individual dressed up as a police officer in a costume that’s too realistic
An example of an act that more openly violates this statute is falsely claiming you are with law enforcement investigating a case while pointing to your wallet, pretending you have a badge.
What Must Prosecution Prove to Garner a Conviction for Impersonating an Officer?
In Florida, the state prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by demonstrating that:
- The defendant pretended to be or allowed others to wrongly assume they were a member of law enforcement, and
- While doing so, the defendant acted as an officer or demanded assistance or aid from someone in a situation relating to an officer’s obligation.
Law Enforcement Officers Who Cannot Be Impersonated
Under Florida Statute 843.08, there is a myriad of law enforcement officers you are prohibited from impersonating, including:
- Police officer
- Sheriff or deputy sheriff
- Officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Financial Services, or the Department of Corrections
- Correctional probation officer
- State attorney or assistant state attorney
- Statewide prosecutor or assistant statewide prosecutor
- State attorney investigator
- Lottery special agent or lottery investigator
- Beverage enforcement agent
- An employee of the Florida Commission on Offender Review
- Representative or personnel of the Department of Law Enforcement
- Federal law enforcement officer
What Are the Penalties for Impersonating an Officer in Florida?
The consequences of false personation of an officer will vary depending on the specific facts of the case. Without aggravating factors, this crime is a third-degree felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, impersonating an officer is assigned a severity ranking of a Level 2 offense out of 10.
If a defendant impersonates an officer while committing a felony, the crime is considered a second-degree felony for which penalties include up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Impersonating an officer is a first-degree felony if someone is injured or killed during the impersonation. The penalties include up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
What Defense Strategies May Be Used Against Charges for Impersonating an Officer?
An experienced criminal defense attorney at The Umansky Law Firm may use various defense strategies against allegations for impersonation that depend on specific facts surrounding your case. Our criminal defense lawyers will examine any law enforcement officer’s testimonies to discover what they observed before placing you under arrest. Sometimes, police officers don’t have a full understanding of the law. What may have been a simple misunderstanding may have worsened the perceived threat in the course of arrest.
Contact The Umansky Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you have been accused of impersonating an officer in Central Florida, contact The Umansky Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a highly knowledgeable defense attorney. As former Florida state and local prosecutors, we have vast knowledge on both sides of the criminal justice system that can help position you for a favorable court ruling. While we can’t guarantee any outcome, we will commit ourselves to pursue the very best possible outcome for your case.
To discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, schedule a free consultation and call our office or complete a contact form.