Is It Illegal to Own a Fake Police Badge?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

In most cases, just owning a counterfeit law enforcement badge--or other counterfeit law enforcement identification, such as certificates and insignias--is not a crime.

But be careful. Using a fake police badge in certain ways could lead to charges of impersonating a police officer under California Penal Code 538d.

This misdemeanor crime can be charged against people who do any of the following, with the intent to fraudulently impersonate a police officer or help another person do so:

  • Wear, use or exhibit a counterfeit police badge (or another form of law enforcement identification);
  • Make or manufacture a counterfeit police badge; or
  • Sell, transfer, loan or give a counterfeit police badge to someone else.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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