Impersonating a Public Servant in Fort Worth, Arlington, Southlake or Surrounding Areas
In Texas, pretending to be a police officer, firefighter, judge, or any other type of government employee is a crime. In fact, it’s a felony. It’s called “impersonating a public servant” and police and prosecutors don’t take these accusations lightly.
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of impersonating a public servant in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, it’s crucial to contact an experienced attorney immediately. Our team of former prosecutors and board-certified attorneys have experience handling impersonation charges and will aggressively defend you and fight to protect your freedom.
What is Impersonating a Public Servant in Texas?
Under Section 31.11 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of impersonating a public servant if he or she:
1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to the person’s pretended official authority or to rely on the person’s pretend official acts;
2) knowingly purports to exercise, without legal authority, any function of a public servant or of a public office of a judge and court.
In layman’s terms, it is a crime to pretend to be a public servant, such as a police officer or a judge, in order to get someone to obey your authority.
What is the punishment for impersonating a public servant?
Impersonating a public servant in Texas is a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with this offense, you need to have an experienced aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner. At Varghese Summersett, our goal is three-fold:
- Keep you out of jail;
- Avoid a felony conviction
- Resolve the case in a manner that allows for an expunction.
Who is considered a public servant in Texas?
Under Texas law, a public servant is an individual who is elected, selected, appointed, employed as a:
- police officer
- government employee
- government agent
- juror or grand juror
- attorney or notary public forming a government function
- candidate for public office
What are some examples of people who have been accused of impersonating a public servant in Texas?
- Two people were arrested in Amarillo for impersonating a public servant after officials said they identified themselves as personnel with the Amarillo Fire Department and were asking people for money.
- An El Paso man was arrested on a charge of impersonating a public servant after allegedly trying conduct a traffic stop using red and blue lights.
- The Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association filed a complaint after alleging that a court coordinator pretended to be the presiding judge during a Zoom hearing.
- A Wichita Falls man was charged with impersonating a public servant after he allegedly claimed to be a U.S. marshal working security evictions and detained a man for criminal trespassing.
- A Plano resident was arrested for impersonating a public servant after police said he posed as judge in an attempt to get money from a victim.
Impersonating a Private Investigator is also illegal in Texas
During the 87th legislative session, lawmakers also made impersonating a private investigator illegal. Private investigators are licensed by the state of Texas Department of Public Safety and deal with personal and highly sensitive matters.
Similar to the offense of impersonating a public servant, a person commits the offense of impersonating a private investigator if he or she impersonates a private investigator with the intent to induce another to submit to the person’s pretended official authority or to rely on the person’s pretend official acts or knowingly purports to exercise any function that requires a private investigator’s license.
Impersonating or purporting to be a private investigator is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
Arrested for impersonating a public servant in North Texas? Contact us.
False impersonation is taken very seriously in North Texas. If you have been accused or arrested for impersonating a public servant in Fort Worth, Tarrant County or the surrounding areas, we can help. Call us today at 817-203-2220 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. We will review your case, answer your questions, and explain your options moving forward.