It is against the law to impersonate a peace officer. Individuals who attempt this impersonation can face charges under Penal Code 538d. Impersonating a peace officer is considered a misdemeanor in the state of California.
Convictions under PC 538d can lead to jail time and fines. There are several defenses against PC 538d charges. Find out more with the team at the Simmrin Law Group now by calling (310) 997-4688.
Impersonating a Peace Officer
Individuals impersonate a peace officer when they intentionally try to convince others that they are peace officers. Individuals must plan to impersonate a police officer to face a PC 538d conviction. To impersonate a peace officer, an individual may use, exhibit, or otherwise wear what appears to be an authorized:
- Card or writing
As you can see, it is not enough to simply claim to be a peace officer to face PC 538d charges. Individuals must also have in their possession something that supposedly indicates they are a peace officer. Doing so can result in a PC 538d conviction.
PC 538d largely concerns those who acquire and misuse items that would otherwise be used by peace officers. However, this charge also regulates vendors who sell law enforcement uniforms. Under PC 538d, these vendors are required to properly identify their customers before they sell a uniform to them.
If a vendor fails to verify that a customer is a law enforcement worker before selling them a uniform, they can incur a fine of up to $1,000.
Legal Penalties for Impersonating a Peace Officer
PC 538d is a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanors are serious criminal charges in Los Angeles. The penalties for impersonating a peace officer are not always the same. However, in most cases, individuals can face a maximum of:
- $1,000 in fines
- Six months in jail
The penalties are harsher if someone uses a police badge to impersonate a police officer. In this situation, the penalties can increase to up to:
- $2,000 in fines
- One year in jail
Remember that vendors of police uniforms can also face fines for not verifying their customers’ identities. Learn more about how to fight these penalties by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today at (310) 997-4688.
Charges Related to Impersonating a Peace Officer
Charges that are similar to PC 538d in California include:
- False identification to police
- False impersonation
- Identity theft
Our team is standing by to help you if you have been accused of any of these criminal acts.
Defenses Against the Charge of Impersonating a Peace Officer
Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles if you have been accused of impersonating a peace officer in California. We can help you review your possible defenses and provide comprehensive assistance with your case. We’re ready to help you show that:
You Weren’t Trying to Defraud Anyone
Individuals must intentionally try to pass themselves off as peace officers to face a PC 538d conviction. They also must intend to defraud someone by trying to take something from them through trickery or deceit. Contact us today if this was never your motivation.
You Dressed Up for a Play or Movie
Actors may have to dress as peace officers to take part in a theatrical event. In this situation, the impersonation of a peace officer is allowed in California. However, these actors or actresses must get police permission before they even put on the uniform.
You Were Not Impersonating a Peace Officer
PC 538d specifically applies to individuals who impersonate peace officers. This means you could avoid a conviction if you impersonated another professional, such as a paramedic. However, if you were impersonating someone for the purpose of carrying out fraud, you could still face criminal charges in court, even if this does not qualify under PC 538d.
Work with a Lawyer to Fight Penal Code 538d Charges Against You
Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group for help if you were accused of impersonating a peace officer in California. Let us help you build your defense against misdemeanor-level offenses under Penal Code 538d. Contact us by completing our online contact form. You can also call us at (310) 997-4688.
Get legal answers today with a free consultation. Our team provides clients in your situation with the legal assistance necessary to fight a conviction under PC 538d.