NRS 205.450 is the Nevada law that makes it a crime to falsely represent oneself as another person in a way that compromises another person’s financial interests. Specifically, false personation is getting married, transacting real estate, or confessing to a crime or civil judgment while masquerading as someone else. A category C felony, false personation carries one to 5 years in Nevada State Prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
NRS 205.450 states:
Every person who shall falsely represent or personate another, and, in such assumed character, shall marry another, become bail or surety for any party, in any proceeding, civil or criminal, before any court or officer authorized to take such bail or surety, or confess any judgment, or acknowledge the execution of any conveyance of real property, or of any other instrument which, by law, may be recorded, or do any other act in the course of any suit, proceeding or prosecution, whereby the person so represented or personated may be made liable, in any event, to the payment of any debt, damages, cost or sum of money, or his or her right or interest may, in any manner be affected, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. Is false personation a crime?
- 2. What are the penalties under NRS 205.450?
- 3. What are the best defenses in Nevada?
- 4. Is impersonating a police officer a felony in Nevada?
- 5. How soon can the criminal record get sealed?
1. Is false personation a crime?
Yes. Nevada’s legal definition of personating another is falsely representing oneself as someone else in any of the following five 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
Nevada’s false impersonation law applies only when the person is trying to pass him/herself off as someone who is real – not a fictional character.1
Note that prosecutors often bring false impersonation charges with additional criminal charges depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, false personation cases frequently involve larceny, receiving stolen property (NRS 205.275), and fraud as well.
2. What are the penalties under NRS 205.450?
As a category C felony in Nevada, false personation carries:
- 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- Up to $10,000 in crimes (at the judge’s discretion)
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.2
3. What are the best defenses?
False impersonation charges should be dismissed if the defendant can show that he/she did not:
- get married,
- enter into a real estate transaction,
- confess to a criminal offense or judgment in a civil action,
- acted as bail or surety in a legal proceeding, and/or
- Did any other act in the course of a lawsuit or proceeding that compromised the financial interests of another person.
Another possible defense is that the defendant never made any false representations, and that he/she was the victim of false allegations or a simple misidentification.
In some cases, judges will drop the charge if it turns out the police department committed misconduct in its criminal investigation. Examples include finding evidence through an illegal search and seizure, entrapping the defendant, or coercing a confession.
As long as the D.A. lacks sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the case should be dismissed.
4. Is impersonating a police officer a felony in Nevada?
No. Nevada law makes it a gross misdemeanor to falsely impersonate a public officer, such as a law enforcement agency officer or statesman. The penalties include:
- Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- Up to $2,000 in fines.3
Learn more about false impersonation of a law enforcement officer (NRS 197.120).
5. How soon can the criminal record get sealed?
Nevada false personation convictions must remain on defendants’ criminal records for five years before they can petition for a record seal. But if the charge gets dismissed, then the defendant can begin the record seal petition process right away.4
(Note that a conviction for false personation of a public officer must remain on a defendant’s criminal record for two year before he/she can ask for a record seal.)
Read our related articles on:
- Nevada fake ID laws (NRS 205.460),
- identity theft,
- illegal use of personal identifying information (NRS 205.463),
- false statements related to health care (18 USC 1035),
- fraudulent conveyances (NRS 205.330),
- falsifying documents / forgery (NRS 205.090),
- obtaining money by false pretenses (NRS 205.380), and
- counterfeiting seals (NRS 205.175).
Arrested in California? Go to our webpage on California false impersonation laws (Penal Code 529 PC).
Arrested in Colorado? Please see our article on criminal impersonation in Colorado (CRS 18-5-113).
- Nevada Revised Statute 205.450. See Tsao v. Desert Palace, Inc., (9th Cir. Nev. 2012) 698 F.3d 1128. See Miller v. State, (1997) 113 Nev. 722, 941 P.2d 456. Note that acting as a made-up character to a peace officer could subject the person to charges for obstructing a public officer (NRS 197.190). Obstruction is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
- NRS 205.450.
- NRS 197.120.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.