CRS 18-8-113 - Impersonating a Public Servant in Colorado

CRS 18-8-113 is the Colorado code section defining the offense of impersonating a public servant.

A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • falsely pretends to be a public servant other than a peace officer; and
  • performs any act in the pretended capacity.

What is a "public servant?"

A public servant is defined as:

  • any officer or employee of the government, whether elected or appointed; and
  • any person participating as an advisor, consultant, process server; or
  • any person who otherwise performs a governmental function.

Police officers are also considered public servants, but as "peace officers" they are excluded from this section. Impersonation of a police officer is charged as a different criminal offense.

What is "impersonation?"

Impersonation means to:

  • act like;
  • pretend to be;
  • represent that he or she is; or
  • create the belief in another

that the person is a public servant when he or she is not. Impersonation can come in a variety of forms, but must meet certain legal requirements to justify criminal charges.

Penalties for Impersonating a Public Servant

This particular crime is a Class 3 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. If convicted of the offense, a person faces:

  • a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail;
  • a fine ranging from $50 to a maximum of $750; or
  • both.

Defenses

A defendant can argue certain defenses against this charge, including:

  • the suspected offender never committed an act in the pretended capacity;
  • false identification of the suspected offender;
  • the suspected offender never impersonated a public servant.

Related Offenses

Certain offenses are closely related to impersonating a public servant, which include:

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about impersonating a public servant for Colorado residents:

Man suit mask impersonation ss
CRS 18-8-113 is the Colorado code section defining the offense of impersonating a public servant.

1. What is the crime of impersonating a public servant in Colorado?

CRS 18-8-113 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of impersonating a public servant.

A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • falsely pretends to be a public servant other than a peace officer; and
  • performs any act in the pretended capacity. 1

2. What is a public servant?

A public servant is defined as:

  • any officer or employee of the government, whether elected or appointed; and
  • any person participating as an advisor, consultant, process server; or
  • any person who otherwise performs a governmental function. 2

Public servants include but are not limited to:

  • mayors
  • state senators
  • city clerks
  • judges
  • publicly employed attorneys
  • firefighters, or
  • other employees of a city, county, state, or the federal government.

Police officers are also considered public servants, but as "peace officers" they are excluded from this section. Impersonation of a police officer is charged as a different criminal offense (see section 6 below).

3. What is impersonation?

Impersonation means to:

  • act like;
  • pretend to be;
  • represent that he or she is; or
  • create the belief in another

that the person is a public servant when he or she is not. Impersonation can come in a variety of forms, but must meet certain legal requirements to justify criminal charges.3

3.1 What are some examples of impersonation?

Some common examples of impersonating a public servant include:

  • pretending to be a firefighter while fighting a fire;
  • pretending to be a public defender and representing a person in court;
  • acting as a county clerk and issuing legal documents; or
  • acting as a member of the local board of elections and submitting paperwork on people's behalf.

4. What are the penalties for this crime?

This particular crime is a Class 3 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. If convicted of the offense, a person faces:

  • a maximum sentence of up to 6 months in jail;
  • a fine ranging from $50 to a maximum of $750; or
  • both.4

5. What defenses can I raise to this charge?

A defendant can argue certain defenses against this charge, including:

  • No "Act": The code section requires not only that a person impersonate a public servant, but also that he or she performs some action in that official capacity while impersonating. If the offender never actually commits an act, he or she cannot be charged with and subsequently convicted of this crime.
  • False Identification: You may have been wrongly identified as the perpetrator of the crime but you are completely innocent. Many times the identification procedures police officers use are flawed, and can lead to mistaken identification.
  • No Impersonation: An accused offender can argue that his or her actions never rose to the level of impersonation and that no offense under this code section has occurred.

6. What related offenses exist?

Certain offenses are closely related to impersonating a public servant, which include:

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For questions about impersonating a public servant or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. CRS 18-8-113.
  2. CRS 18-1-901 (Definitions).
  3. CRS 18-8-113.
  4. CRS 18-1.3-501 (Misdemeanors Classified).

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