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Overview Of Impersonation Crimes Under Virginia Criminal Law

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From misdemeanor to felony charges, the impersonation of certain individuals or organizations can lead to criminal consequences in Virginia. Virginia law prohibits the impersonation of police officers and public safety personnel. Additionally, Virginia law protects the ability of organizations and associations to safeguard their insignia and other defining characteristics.

Impersonating Police Officer

The state laws against impersonating a police officer appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-174. Under this section, it is unlawful to pretend to be or falsely assume or exercise the functions, powers, duties, or privileges of a:

  • Sheriff;
  • Police officer;
  • Marshal;
  • Peace officer; or
  • Local, city, county, state, or federal law enforcement officer.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-174 by impersonating a police officer will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor on the first offense. If convicted, the punishment can include $2,500 in criminal fines and up to 12 months in county jail.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-174 a second or subsequent time will be charged with a Class 6 felony. If convicted, the punishment can include $2,500 in criminal fines and one to five years in prison.

Impersonating Public Safety Personnel

The state laws against impersonating certain public safety personnel appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-174.1. Under this section, it is illegal to, with the intent to deceive another person, willfully impersonate a:

  • Emergency medical services provider;
  • Firefighter;
  • Fire marshal;
  • Fire chief; or
  • Special forest warden, as designated under Code of Virginia Section 10.1-1135.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-174.1 by impersonating public safety personnel will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor on the first offense. If convicted, the punishment will be substantially similar to the one described above.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-174.1 a second or subsequent time will be charged with a Class 6 felony. If convicted, the punishment will be substantially similar to the one described above.

Illegal Use of Insignia

The state laws against illegal use of insignia appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-177. Under this section, it is unlawful to willfully exhibit, display, print, use, or wear for any reason, certain:

  • Badges;
  • Mottos;
  • Buttons;
  • Decorations;
  • Charms;
  • Emblems;
  • Rosettes; or
  • Other insignia.

This section only applies if an organization or association is duly registered under Virginia state law. In these cases, the items above are reserved for use in accordance with the constitution or bylaws of the organization or association in question.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-174.1 by using insignia illegally will be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor on the first offense. If convicted, the punishment can include a maximum of $250 in criminal fines.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you need legal assistance with criminal charges in Virginia, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Winchester criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are eager to help you today.

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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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