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CRS 18-8-112 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of impersonating a peace officer. A person commits this offense if he or she falsely pretends to be a police officer, and performs an act while pretending that role. As a Class 6 felony, this carries up to 18 months in jail or prison.
The language of §CRS 18-8-112 reads as follows:
(1) A person who falsely pretends to be a peace officer and performs an act in that pretended capacity commits impersonating a peace officer.(2) Impersonating a peace officer is a class 5 felony.
CRS § 18-8-112 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of impersonating a peace officer.
1. What is impersonating a peace officer in Colorado?
CRS § 18-8-112 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of impersonating a peace officer. A person commits this offense if he or she:
falsely pretends to be a policeman or policewoman, and
performs an act while pretending that role. 1
What is the definition of a “peace officer?”
A peace officer is defined as either:
a policeman or policewoman in uniform; or, if out of uniform,
one who has identified him or herself by exhibiting his or her credentials as a peace officer. 2
A peace officer who is out of uniform can count as a peace officer for the purposes of this offense if he or she properly identifies him or herself as such. Alternatively, this means that even if the alleged offender did not wear a police uniform, sufficient statements or acts that would lead another person to believe the lie may be enough to charge the person of the offense.
2. What is impersonation?
Impersonation means to:
pretend to be;
represent that he or she is; or
create the belief in another
that the person is a peace officer when he or she is not. Impersonation can come in a variety of forms, but must meet certain legal requirements to justify criminal charges.
Does this mean I can never dress as a policeman, even for Halloween?
A Colorado resident could still dress up as a policeman or policewoman for fun, like during Halloween. In fact, simply dressing as a peace officer is not a crime.
For a person’s conduct to rise to the level of impersonation, it must be accompanied by some other act that a police officer would do in his or her official capacity.
Example: Kevin dresses up as a policeman for Halloween. All he does is attend the party and never tries to trick anyone into thinking he is a policeman. He cannot be convicted of impersonating an officer at this point. However, after a few drinks, he thinks it would be funny to arrest someone for “jaywalking” across the street. By being dressed as and committing an act that is a typical police officer function, he can be charged with impersonating a peace officer.
What types of acts constitute impersonation?
Any time a person pretends to act as a peace officer and acts in that fake role, that person may be charged under Colorado law. Common acts of impersonation include but are not limited to:
dressing as a police officer (along with some other act);
presenting fake police credentials, such as a police badge;
pulling over a driver with red and blue lights;
directing traffic while indicating him or herself as a peace officer;
making an arrest; and
verbally indicating to others that the person is a police officer.
This is not a full list. Many other acts may qualify as “impersonation” depending on the facts of the case.
3. What are the penalties for impersonating a peace officer?
Impersonating a peace officer is a Class 6 felony in the State of Colorado. Penalties for the offense include:
twelve to 18 months in jail;
a fine of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000; and
mandatory parole period of one year.3
Risk of Multiple Charges
In many cases where impersonating a peace officer is charged, it is charged alongside other alleged criminal conduct. Crimes which commonly occur along with an impersonating charge include: