Impersonating a police officer is a serious crime in the State of Mississippi. If a person willfully pretends to be a police officer for whatever reason, he or she can get arrested and charged with a crime. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your individual case, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. If you impersonated a cop for financial gain, it’s possible to add identity theft and fraud charges to the mix. If you were found to be carrying a weapon or you were involved in any type of violent activity like assault or sexual assault at the time of the arrest, you could be facing additional felony criminal charges. If you’ve been arrested and charged with police impersonation, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
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Impersonating a Police Officer
Impersonating a police officer happens when somebody attempts to impersonate a cop through either dressing like one, using flashing lights on one’s vehicle, using a counterfeit or stolen badge or simply leading somebody to believe you are an officer of the law. Making a civilian believe you are a police officer breaks public trust in law enforcement authorities. Police officers are entrusted with power and discretion, and the general public takes their authority very seriously. Impersonating a police officer in order to control people or get financial or other criminal gains will land you in hot water.
Penalties of Police Impersonation
In Mississippi, the minimum charge of impersonating a police officer or other municipal authority is a misdemeanor. That being said, additional charges can quickly raise the stakes in your case. If weapons are involved, expect to be facing felony charges too. If anybody is injured or an assault or sexual assault takes place, you will be facing charges for those crimes too. If you’re charged and convicted of a misdemeanor, you’re looking at up to one year in jail and possibly up to $500 in fines. If you’re facing felony charges, depending upon the unique circumstances in your individual case, you could be facing up to five years or more in prison and additional costly fines.
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What About Costume Parties?
Especially during Halloween, cop costumes are very popular. As long as you don’t use an actual uniform or badge or take on any actual or traditional police duties, you should be in the clear. Most people can tell the difference between a real cop and somebody dressed up as a cop for Halloween. If you’re costume is good enough to make people question whether it’s authentic or not, you probably need a different outfit. Likewise, if you’re dressed as a cop for a costume party, you shouldn’t try to carry out any official-looking police duties at all. This could get you in hot water or confuse people. The last thing you need at a fun costume party is to get arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer.
Identity Theft and Police Impersonation
Identity theft is also a charge we see associated with certain police impersonation cases. This is especially true if you’re impersonating a specific police officer. Assuming another person’s identity for financial or other types of gains is identity theft. If that person is a cop, you’re also impersonating a police officer. These additional charges can increase the potential amount of time you would have to serve behind bars if convicted, so if you’re facing police impersonation charges or identity theft charges, you need to get with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
When to Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re charged with impersonating a police officer, you could be facing jail or prison time and hefty fines. Additionally, the criminal record is likely to follow you for years, and that can make getting a job, applying for a loan or finding housing very difficult after the time has been served. To get the best possible outcome for your particular situation, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest. Remember to exercise your right against self-incrimination. Don’t talk to interrogators or investigators until your attorney is present. It could mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.
If you have been arrested for police impersonation or if a loved one has been arrested and charged with impersonating a cop in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the experienced and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.