California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are empowered to monitor drivers on the roads throughout the state. CHP officers can pull drivers over, issue tickets, and perform arrests when the situation calls for it. While many drivers respect this authority, some individuals may attempt to use it to their own benefit.
Individuals who pretend that they are a member of the CHP can face prosecution under California Vehicle Code Section 27: Impersonating a California Highway Patrol Officer.
A VC 27 violation can be treated as a misdemeanor level offense in the state of California. Find out more about how a conviction under VC 27 can impact a driver right here. You can also go over possible legal defenses to a VC 27 accusation with the Simmrin Law Group.
Go Over the Definition of Impersonating a CHP Officer
Impersonating a California Highway Patrol officer is a serious criminal act. Individuals should only face this charge if they:
- Impersonated a CHP Member Without Authority OR
- Wore a CHP Badge Without Authority
- With the Intention to Deceive Anyone
Note that this charge does not apply if someone dresses as a CHP officer as part of a costume. Neither should individuals face criminal charges if they impersonate a CHP member for a role in a play, theater production, or television show.
Individuals in costume are not trying to pass themselves off as legitimate CHP officers, which allows them to avoid a VC 27 charge.
Other Laws Related to Impersonation in California
You should be aware that it is against the law to impersonate other members of law enforcement outside of the CHP. The state of California utilizes Penal Code Section 538(d) to prosecute individuals who impersonate peace officers.
Additionally, individuals could be charged with false impersonation under Penal Code Section 529. PC 529 violations can apply if an individual tries to impersonate someone else and:
- Posts Bond or Bail for Another Person
- Commits an Act That Would Lead to Civil or Criminal Liability
- Passes Off a Document as True Using the Other Person’s Name
Any act of impersonation can have serious consequences. Make sure you are prepared to handle impersonation accusations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles now.
Penalties for Impersonating a CHP Officer
VC 27 charges are treated as misdemeanors in the California court system. This means that a conviction can lead to:
- Court Fines
- Time Spent in Jail
Generally, the court can sentence individuals to no more than 180 days in jail for impersonating a CHP officer.
Examples of VC 27 Violations in Los Angeles
Broaden your understanding of impersonating a CHP officer charges with these examples:
Man A is portraying a CHP officer in a play with his local community theatre troop. He dresses up in a CHP costume – complete with a badge – for every performance. He should not face charges under VC 27 because he is not trying to deceive anyone into thinking he is actually a CHP officer.
Man B decides that he could easily steal cars if he pretended to be a CHP officer. He puts together a costume and sets out to pull people over and then take their cars when they exit their vehicles. He could be charged with grand theft auto as well as impersonating a CHP officer for his actions.
Defenses for VC 27 Accusations in California
You do not have to try to deal with a VC 27 accusation on your own in Los Angeles. A professional criminal defense lawyer can help you build a defense against the charges you are facing. Your lawyer may be able to argue that:
You Were Only Wearing a CHP Officer Costume for Fun
As we mentioned above, it is not against the law to dress up as a CHP officer as part of a costume. As long as you did not attempt to pass yourself off as a real CHP officer, you may be able to avoid a VC 27 conviction in California.
You Were Dressed as a CHP Officer for a Visual Production
Individuals may need to dress as CHP officers if they are playing a role in a television show, a film, or a play. This usage of a CHP officer’s uniform is legally allowed in Los Angeles.
Speak with a Lawyer About VC 27 Charges
The Simmrin Law Group can help you handle California Vehicle Code Section 27: Impersonating a California Highway Patrol Officer charges. Let us go over your specific legal situation today. You can reach our criminal defense lawyers by filling out our online contact form, or by calling (310) 997-4688.
Start focusing on your future after a VC 27 accusation with a FREE initial case evaluation.