Impersonating an Officer

Impersonating an Officer – Penal Code Section 146a

The crime of impersonating a public officer may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor violation of Penal Code Section 146a(a):

Pursuant to Penal Code Section 146a(a), it is misdemeanor to falsefly represent yourself as a deputy or clerk of a state agency if you do any of the following:

  • Arrest, detain or threaten to arrest or detain a person;
  • Intimidate any person;
  • Search any person, building, or other property of any person;
  • Obtain money, property or any other thing of value.

A misdemeanor violation of Penal Code Section 146a(a) is punishable by a term of 180 days or less in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,500 or by both jail and a fine.

Felony violation of Penal Code Section 146a(b):

Pursuant to Penal Code Section 146a(b), it s a felony to represent yourself as a public officer, investigator or inspector of any state agency if you also do the following:

  • Arrest, detain or threaten to arrest or detain a person;
  • Intimidate any person;
  • Search any person, building, or other property of any person;
  • Obtain money, property or any other thing of value.

A felony violation of Penal Code Section 146a(b) is punishable in the following manner:

  • Probation and up to 364 days in the County Jail.
  • Felony Jail (Local Prison Sentence Served in a County Jail) of 16 months, two years or three years.
  • A 146a(b) may also be reduced to a misdemeanor on the motion of the District Attorney or by order of the Court.  A misdemeanor violation of Section 146a(b) carries up to a one-year jail sentence and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
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