Pretending to be someone else in the state of California can lead to serious criminal charges. Individuals who claim to be another person could face prosecution under California Penal Code Section 529: False Impersonation.
Go over the results of a conviction for false impersonation – sometimes referred to as false personation – right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can use this article to consider defenses for PC 529 accusations and to review charges similar to false impersonation in California.
The Definition of False Impersonation in California
Individuals in California may be accused of false impersonation under PC 529 if they try to pass themselves off as someone else in either an official or a private situation. These charges should only apply if, while pretending to be someone else, an individual decides to:
- Act as Surety or Bail in Any Court Proceeding
- Acknowledge, Publish, or Verify a Written Document
Additionally, false impersonation charges can apply if one person pretends to be someone else and performs an action that could:
- Result in the Impersonated Person Facing Criminal or Civil Prosecution or Liability
- Result in Benefits to the Person Doing the Impersonation or Any Other Person
Go Over Charges like PC 529
Claiming to be someone else can result in a number of different criminal charges in California. Misidentification could lead to prosecution under:
- Penal Code Section 148.9: False Identification to Police
- Penal Code Section 530.5: Identity Theft
- Penal Code Section 532: Theft by False Pretenses
- Penal Code Section 538d: Impersonating a Police Officer
Examples of False Impersonation in California
Man A is pulled over for drunk driving. He has a prior drunk driving conviction and doesn’t want to get in additional trouble. When asked for his name, he claims to be his roommate and says he doesn’t have his license with him. He could be charged under PC 529 because he claimed to be someone else and committed an act that would leave his roommate facing criminal charges.
Man B is stopped for being drunk in public. When the police stop him and ask for his name, he claims that he is Donald Duck. While he is pretending to be someone else, he is not pretending to be a real person, so he should not face PC 529 charges.
Results of a Conviction for False Impersonation
Depending upon the criminal record of the accused and the situations surrounding a PC 529 violation, false impersonation can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. These charges can come with different repercussions, including:
Misdemeanor False Impersonation Penalties
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Jail Time: Up to One Year
Felony False Impersonation Penalties
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Jail Time: Up to Three Years
Note that sometimes individuals falsely impersonate someone else to try to get out of a criminal charge, such as an accusation for speeding. However, the results of a false impersonation conviction can be harsher than the penalties for the initial offense.
Options for Defending Against PC 529 Accusations
You can increase your chances of successfully beating a PC 529 accusation by reaching out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are arrested. A legal professional can dig into the facts surrounding your case. Based on your unique situation, a criminal defense lawyer could work to show that:
You Only Falsely Identified Yourself as Another Person
Merely saying that you are someone else is not enough to lead to false impersonation charges. You must perform an additional act, such as committing a criminal act and blaming it on the person you are impersonating, to be charged under PC 529.
You Did Not Falsely Impersonate Anyone
Issues of identity can become complicated in false impersonation cases. Perhaps you were mistaken for someone else who falsely impersonated another individual. You could also be accused of false impersonation by someone who simply does not want to face legal consequences for their actions.
You Were Pretending to Impersonate Someone as a Joke
Impersonations for comedy are common and they are not considered criminal acts. If you were making a joke or impersonating another person while acting, you should not face a conviction for false impersonation in California.
A Legal Professional Can Defend You from False Impersonation Charges
Take charge of your future after you are accused of violating California Penal Code Section 529: False Impersonation. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can start working to build your defense today. Let our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles focus on your needs now, starting with a FREE consultation.
You can call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form if you need help handling false impersonation accusations in California.