Connecticut Criminal Impersonation Lawyer
Despite what you may have seen on television or in the movies, pretending to be another person to acquire money, information, or cause injury to another person is a crime in Connecticut. The Connecticut crime is called Criminal Impersonation and is being taken very seriously by Connecticut law enforcement. With the widespread problem of identity theft rings, credit card scams, and mass worldwide data breaches affecting the credit reports of millions of Americans, Connecticut police and prosecutors now have zero tolerance for Connecticut Criminal Impersonation arrests under CGS 53a-130 and CGS 53a-130a. As the best Connecticut criminal impersonation lawyers and attorneys will tell you, Criminal Impersonation charges strike at the heart of something money can never buy you and cannot easily be replaced—a person’s reputation and credit history. So if you have been arrested for Criminal Impersonation in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien or New Canaan, call a top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer right away to learn more about the crime and the various defenses available to you.
The Definition of Criminal Impersonation under Connecticut Criminal Law
Under the Connecticut criminal penal code of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-130, the misdemeanor crime of Criminal Impersonation is defined as the impersonation of another with the intent to obtain a benefit, injure or defraud another. The actual act of impersonation occurs when you act the part, mimic the appearance, or adopt the personal identifying characteristics of another individual. You can also be arrested in Connecticut for Criminal Impersonation if you engage in any of the following misconduct: (1) pretend to represent an organization such as a charity or religious organization, (2) mislead people to believe you are a public servant, or (3) impersonate a police officer which is a separate felony charge under Connecticut law.
The crime of Criminal Impersonation is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a maximum $2,000 fine, and probation. Further, if you have pled guilty to Criminal Impersonation or were convicted at trial, and have caused another individual or company financial loss as a result of Criminal Impersonation, then you will be ordered to pay financial, out-of-pocket restitution to any victims of the crime. As with any financial crime in Connecticut, the amount of restitution can be aggressively argued and litigated in court so make sure your top Wilton and Westport criminal lawyer fights for a fair and low restitution order for you.
Impersonation of a Public Servant
Top Connecticut criminal attorneys have observed Connecticut General Statute 53a-130 specifically applying to scenarios where someone impersonates a public servant. A public servant includes any officer or employee of the government who is elected or appointed and is performing a governmental function. A common example would be pretending to be a town clerk, armed forces member, town volunteer, judge’s clerk or postal worker calling to obtain private information from someone. Criminal Impersonation of a Public Servant does not require that you impersonate a specific government employee. Instead, all that is necessary is that you are pretending to be any public servant of the State of Connecticut or federal government.
Impersonation of Another Using an Electronic Device
Many top Stamford criminal lawyers also point to another frequently charged subdivision of Criminal Impersonation—that is when the impersonation is conducted through the use of an electronic device. Any attempt to impersonate another using a cell phone / iPhone, computer, email message, tablet or similar device is considered to be using an electronic device under Connecticut law and can get you arrested in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan or Greenwich for 53a-130 Criminal Impersonation. These charges arise in “phishing” email scams which purport to be from international businessmen who offer to wire you money from their foreign bank account only to scam you into providing personal banking information under the guise of doing legitimate business. As the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers observe in these cases, anytime you pretend to be someone else in an email and ask for money or information, you risk an arrest in Connecticut for 53a-130 Criminal Impersonation.
Impersonation of a Police Officer
There’s a more serious subdivision of Connecticut Criminal Impersonation law for impersonating a police officer. This is a Class D Felony and is codified in C.G.S. 53a-130a. To be arrested in Stamford or Greenwich for Impersonation of a Police Officer, you must pretend to be a member of the State Police / State Trooper division, or a local Connecticut police department and wear or display a uniform, badge or shield which distinguishes you as a police officer. The badge does not need to be an official state-issued badge. Any use of a counterfeit badge or identification as a police officer with the intent to make another person comply with your demands will result in a charge for criminal impersonation of a police. Top Stamford and Norwalk criminal lawyers sometimes see arrests for a lot less—when a drunk or drug addicted individual identifies himself as “FBI” or when people dress up as law enforcement more as a tribute to these officers rather than with the intent to commit a crime. In either scenario, you are tiptoeing the line between criminal conduct and constitutionally protected activity so tread carefully, and consider calling a top Wilton or Weston criminal lawyer for a consultation.
Impersonation of a Police Officer is a Class D felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a maximum $5,000 fine and probation.
What is the Difference between Criminal Impersonation and Identity Theft?
Top Stamford and Greenwich criminal attorneys often find themselves explaining to clients the difference between a Connecticut arrest for Identity Theft under CGS 53a-129 and Criminal Impersonation arrests under CGS 53a-130. As the best Stamford criminal lawyers explain, these two non-violent crimes can be confusingly similar as these crimes primarily target personal identifying information of another person to obtain money, services, property or medical information without the victim’s consent. The difference is this: a Connecticut Identity Theft crime is the act of actually obtaining the information that allows and assists an individual to impersonate another person (typically online). On the other hand, Connecticut Criminal Impersonation laws target the individuals who are seeking to trick their victims into believing they are another person or that the wrongdoer represents an organization seeking some kind of financial gain. Top Stamford criminal lawyers often see these crimes charged together and on top of one another in identity theft stings. This can be unconstitutional at times so it’s important to discuss your Connecticut Criminal Impersonation or Identity Theft arrest with your top Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyer to determine whether filing a Motion to Dismiss would be appropriate.
Fighting Criminal Impersonation Arrests in Connecticut
Building a defense to your Stamford Connecticut Criminal Impersonation charges involves a comprehensive review of the police reports, witness statements, and audio / video / 911 recordings gathered and preserved by the arresting police department. If you are arrested for Criminal Impersonation in Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan or Greenwich, then you are entitled to a complete review of all the evidence in your case. It is therefore critical that your top Connecticut criminal lawyer reviews with you the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, discussing important questions with you such as: Can the State prove actual impersonation? Can they prove you had the requisite intent to obtain information or financial benefit from the victim? Was the accused truly being serious if he or she held themselves out to be another person? What was the motive in this case? Was it just a harmless prank? Was the person arrested drunk or high when they tried to impersonate someone? Can State prosecutors actually prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt? You should be reviewing all of these questions with your experienced Connecticut criminal attorney. And as with any misdemeanor charge, you should ask your top Stamford criminal defense lawyer about the possibility of applying for the Accelerated Rehabilitation First Time Offender Pre-Trial Diversionary Program. It is not an admission of guilt and paves the way for your Criminal Impersonation arrest to be dismissed, erased and expunged, so that it is completely off your record and removed from all of your employment background checks.
Can You Be charged with Criminal Impersonation for Using a Fake Name on an internet Dating Website?
No. The person being impersonated must actually exist. Connecticut Criminal Impersonation laws do not punish you for using a false name in an attempt to be a made-up person on the internet or at a bar (i.e. “Carlos Danger”!) Connecticut Criminal Impersonation law punishes individuals who use the name of another person who actually exists. Of course there’s always the chance you might unknowingly use the name of another real person in an attempt to use a fake name, which can be prosecuted if Stamford Connecticut prosecutors can prove there was criminal intent. Also, it is against the law to provide a fake name to any law enforcement agent or police officer. This crime is most frequently charged as Interference with a Police Investigation under CGS 53a-167a.
Are You a Victim of Criminal Impersonation?
Certain victims of Connecticut crimes who are looking to recoup losses they have suffered as a result of crimes like CGS 53a-130 Criminal Impersonation possess many rights in Connecticut criminal court. Connecticut crime victims have a statutory right to be heard in court. Much to the chagrin and displeasure of the best Connecticut criminal lawyers, these same victims are entitled to hire a lawyer to participate in nearly every stage of the accused’s case. They can speak up in court, demand the payment of restitution and financial out-of-pocket losses caused by the accused, and lean on judges and prosecutors to throw the book at the individuals who caused the victim so much anxiety and financial loss as a result of the Stamford Connecticut arrest for Criminal Impersonation. For instance, someone has impersonated a victim or their company and purchased merchandise or services, causing them financial loss or damage to their credit history. In certain situations like these, victims of Connecticut crimes have hired a top Connecticut victim representation lawyer attorney to guide them through the system. Thus, if you are a victim of a Stamford, Darien, Greenwich or New Canaan Connecticut Criminal Impersonation arrest, then call a top Stamford victim representation attorney today.
Contact an Experienced Connecticut Criminal Impersonation Lawyer Today
As you can see, misdemeanor and felony Criminal Impersonation charges can have serious consequences on your personal and professional lives. So if you have been arrested in Stamford, Darien, Westport, Greenwich or Wilton for 53a-130 Criminal Impersonation or 53a-130a Impersonation of a Police Officer, or if you are a victim of these crimes, contact one of the experienced criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. Our number one priority is getting you the best result possible. We will sit with you, craft the most cost-effective defense strategy with you, and execute this strategy with the sole goal of getting your Connecticut Criminal Impersonation charges dismissed as quickly as possible. Our rates are competitive and our “two-attorney” analysis of your arrest reports and case file ensures that your case will get a thorough and comprehensive review. So get in front of your Connecticut Criminal Impersonation arrest by getting in front of a Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut criminal attorney today.