A public officer, for the purposes of impersonating a public officer in DC charges, would include a DC Superior Court judge, a notary public, or police officer. If a person knowingly impersonates any one of these public officers and attempts to utilize their authority then they can be charged with impersonating a public official. Impersonation of a public official is a felony crime, meaning it carries significant consequences making it important those accused consult with a defense attorney in DC as soon as possible to discuss their case and begin building a defense.
It is important to understand that in order for impersonating a public officer to be considered a crime in DC, a person must make some statement or take some action in trying to perform a duty, or exercise the authority, of a DC Superior Court judge, notary public, or police officer, in addition to making a false representation. In other words, it is not enough for someone to just tell another person that they are a judge, notary, or police officer, they must try to exercise the authority of that person in some way.
If a person falsely represents themselves to be a public officer and makes statements or takes actions to perform a duty or exercise the authority of a public officer, the government is also required to prove that the person did so knowing that their appointment, term, or commission had expired, or did so knowing that they had been dismissed from such office. If a person unknowingly impersonates a public officer, their attorney will be able to explain available defenses to them and assist them in the preparation and presentation of their defense.
Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for a person to be charged with false impersonation. It is illegal to falsely impersonate another person before any court, judge, clerk of court, or any officer in DC authorized to administer oaths, if done with the intent to defraud. For example if someone pretends to be someone else in court, with the intent of defrauding the court or judge, they could be charged with false impersonation.
If someone is convicted of falsely impersonating a public officer, the repercussions can be severe. This crime is considered a felony and carries a punishment of a minimum of a year in jail, up to three years in jail, a fine of $12,500, or both.
In order to avoid a conviction for impersonating a public officer, it is best first to immediately speak with an attorney who has experience defending these impersonation charges. An attorney will be able to use their experience to work with their client and prepare a defense that will help in avoiding a conviction. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
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