As a child, you may have pretended to be another person, perhaps someone famous or a police officer. While this may have been a harmless way to have fun back then, as an adult, impersonating someone other than yourself can result in serious criminal penalties. As a form of fraud, a recent case of false impersonation in San Jose illustrates how it can result in both state and federal charges and why it requires a strong criminal defense.
San Jose Man Impersonates DEA Official
Reports started surfacing in San Jose around Christmas about someone in the area attempting to impersonate a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) official. The first incident involved an actual special agent with the state Department of Transportation. She was pulled over on Christmas Eve 2018 by a man who claimed he was an officer with the DEA. When she questioned his authority and revealed her own position, the man fled the scene. The agent alerted police and informed them that he drove a Volkswagen Jetta that appeared to be equipped with police lighting.
Since then, there have been several other incidents of drivers being stopped or signaled to pull over by a vehicle of the same description. Police were eventually able to obtain a license plate number, which led them to a 49-year-old San Jose man. As he was impersonating a federal official, actual DEA agents became involved in the case. They noticed him leaving his home in the Jetta while wearing what appeared to be a uniform, carrying a holstered weapon, with a fake DEA badge hanging around his neck. If convicted, he faces fines of up to $500,000 and up to an eight-year prison sentence.
Impersonation Charges In San Jose
An impersonation case does not have to be as dramatic as the one above to result in serious penalties. Under the California Penal Code, false impersonation involves misrepresenting yourself and pretending to be an individual, acting in either a private or public capacity, for the purpose of some type of satisfaction or gain. This includes:
- Signing documents in another person’s name;
- Making appearances on their behalf and without their knowledge or approval;
- Using their authority to influence others; and
- Claiming benefits that do not rightly belong to you.
Under state law, even a seemingly minor impersonation crime could result in fines up to $10,000 and up to a year in jail. If you impersonate an official from a state or national agency, you could face federal penalties as well.
Contact Our San Jose, CA Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
When facing impersonation charges that could leave you with a lengthy jail sentence, the Jachimowicz Law Group can provide the strong legal defense you need. Call 408-246-5500 or contact our dedicated San Jose, CA criminal defense lawyers online today and request a free consultation to discuss your charges.