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False Impersonation California Penal Code 529

Apr 25, 2019 | Criminal Law

Under California Penal Code 529 False Impersonation it is illegal to impersonate another one, by using his name, in an effort to cause harm to that person or to unlawfully gain a benefit.

Elements Required for Prosecution To Successfully Convict a Defendant of Penal Code 529

Prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant falsely impersonated another one through one of the following actions:

  • Defendant posted bond or bail for a party by using another person’s name.
  • Defendant published, verified, acknowledged or proved a document in the name of another person to pass it off as true.
  • Defendant committed an act that would cause another person to be criminally or civilly liable for the defendant’s action, or to suffer any other charge or penalty

Additional Act

According to California PC Section 529 beyond merely falsely impersonating another person defendant must also commit an additional act. The act can be signing another person’s name or booking photos or prints taken at the police department.

California False Impersonation Related Offenses

Several offenses related to PC Section 529 can be charged instead of or in addition to a charge of false impersonation. These include:

  • False identification to a police officer: 148.9 PC
  • Identity theft: 530.5 PC
  • Theft by false pretenses: 532 PC
  • Impersonating a police officer 538(d)

Differences between California Penal Code Section 529 False Impersonation and Penal Code 148.9 False Identification to a Police Officer

  • According to PC Section 148.9 a person  identifies himself as someone else to a peace officer who is legally arresting or detaining him
  • An additional act is not required under PC Section 148.9
  • Conviction under PC Section 148.9 is always a misdemeanor  and not a wobbler as in case of PC Section 529

Defenses to PC Section 529 Charges

The Impersonated Person Doesn’t Exist

In case the person was just someone totally fictional, the defendant cannot be convicted of this crime. Though, defendant can be liable for providing false information to a police officer.

Defendant didn’t create any liabilities for another person, or didn’t gain any benefits

The defendant can’t be convicted of this crime in case his actions didn’t create any legal or financial liability for another person or create any kind of benefit for him.

Penalties for California PC 529 Conviction

False impersonation is considered a “wobbler” and a prosecutor can choose to charge it as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s criminal history the nature of the allegations;

Penalties for Misdemeanor Conviction Are the Following:

  • Misdemeanor  probation
  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Penalties for Felony Conviction Are the Following:

  • Felony probation
  • Sixteen months, two or three years in county jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Restriction to own a firearm under California’s “felon with a firearm” laws

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal defense lawyer at KAASS LAW can help provide you with the legal assistance and defense for Penal Code 529 False Impersonation charges. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.