Pretending to be someone else can be a serious offense in Nevada, especially if it causes that person to sustain monetary damages. The punishment carries not only prison and fines . . . potential employers may decide not to hire you if you have a false impersonation charge on your record.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience in negotiating charges down to lesser offenses or even full dismissals. We’re also successful trial lawyers who’ve achieved several “not guilty” verdicts. To learn more about Las Vegas false personation law and how we can help, keep reading.
The legal definition of “personating another” in Las Vegas, Nevada, applies when someone falsely represents themselves as someone else in any of the following circumstances:
- getting married
- making a real estate transaction
- confessing to a crime or civil judgment
- acting as bail or surety in any legal proceeding
- doing any other act in the course of a lawsuit or proceeding that compromises another’s financial interests
Note that prosecutors often bring false impersonation charges in conjunction with additional criminal charges depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, false personation cases may involve the Nevada crime of larceny, the Nevada crime of receiving stolen property, and the Nevada crime of fraud as well.
Real vs. fictional impersonation
Nevada’s false impersonation law only makes it a crime to pass yourself off as someone who’s real, not a fictional character. However, posing as a made-up person to a cop could subject you to charges for “obstructing a public officer.” Obstruction is a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. (NRS 197.190)
The nature of the Nevada offense of false personation lends itself to several possible defense strategies that may prove very effective in fighting criminal charges. The following are three of the more common tactics:
- Prior authorization: In some circumstances, you may escape criminal liability for personating another as long as you secured that person’s permission first and no one else sustained damage from your actions.
- False allegations: It’s not uncommon for innocent people to be wrongly accused by others out of anger or a simple accident. But as long as the prosecution can’t produce sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, false impersonation charges shouldn’t stand.
- Police misconduct: Sometimes cops break the law during criminal investigations such as by performing an unconstitutional search, seizure or arrest. In these cases, your attorney may file a Las Vegas motion to suppress evidence, which asks the court to disregard any evidence found from the police’s illegal activity. Ultimately your entire case may be dropped if the D.A. is left with insufficient proof.
The Las Vegas crime of false personation is prosecuted as a category C felony in Nevada. The sentence may include:
- 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in crimes
Note that any property someone allegedly receives under an assumed persona will be considered “stolen.” In these situations, false impersonation charges may be accompanied by theft charges that carry similar felony penalties.
False impersonation of a public officer (NRS 197.120)
Nevada has a separate crime for false impersonation of a public officer, such as a cop or statesman. It’s only a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. Learn more about the Nevada crime of false impersonation of a public office.
Charged with a crime? Call us . . . .
If you’ve been accused of false impersonation under NRS 205.450 in Nevada, we can help. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys may be able to get your charges lowered or thrown out altogether, and we’re always prepared to fight for you all the way to trial.
Also learn about Nevada Fake Id laws and illegal use of personal identifying information in Nevada and counterfeiting seals in Nevada.
To learn about California false impersonation laws, go to our webpage on California false impersonation laws (Penal Code 529 PC). For Colorado cases, please see our article on CRS 18-5-113 criminal impersonation in Colorado.