False Personation – Definition and Defenses
Our personal information is more precious than ever. But many of us also share our personal information with one another all the time, trusting one another to use it correctly and responsibly. This can often lead to misunderstandings and accidental identity impersonation. If you're accused of falsely impersonating another person, you need to know what you're being accused of and what defenses you can use with the help of California criminal defense counsel.
What is False Personation?
False personation is essentially false impersonation, just with a slightly different name in the legal system. It's clearly defined by California Penal Code 529 (a) and 530. It stipulates that, to be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove:
- That the defendant falsely impersonated some other person in official or private capacities AND
- The defendant did one of multiple actions
The exact charge will vary based on the alleged actions the defendant took while they were impersonating the victim. You may be accused of false personation for:
- Posting bail or acting as surety for anyone in a proceeding before an officer or judge, or anyone authorized to take the bail
- Verifying, acknowledging, proving, or publishing any written document with the intention of people believing the document to have come from the original person
- Doing anything that might cause the person being impersonated to pay any amount of money or be subject to any charge or penalty
- Receiving money or property under the identity of another person
- Depriving the true owner of the identity of any money or property
All of this, of course, must be done with full intention and awareness.
What Possible Penalties Exist?
False personation can carry penalties associated with either misdemeanors or felonies, as it's classified as a “wobbler” offense under California law.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, penalties can include:
- A fine of up to $10,000 maximum
- Misdemeanor probation
- Custody in county jail for up to one year
Felony charges can carry additional penalties, including:
- A fine of up to $10,000 maximum
- Imprisonment in county jail for up to three years
- Felony or formal probation
Defenses to Charges of False Personation
With the help of a skilled California criminal defense attorney, you can present an effective defense against these charges.
No Acts Were Undertaken
If you supposedly took on the identity of another person but didn't perform any acts, like the many listed above, no harm came to the original person and no false personation technically occurred.
No Liability or Benefit Came About
The prosecution must prove that some measurable harm or deception occurred on some level while you were impersonating another person. If no benefit or destruction came to either you or another person, the impersonation essentially didn't happen in a practical sense. For instance, if you gave a false name and nothing came of it, your defense attorney could use either this or the above defense strategy.
Why You Need a California Criminal Defense Attorney
Any criminal case is extremely time-sensitive. That's why it's important that you contact the Law Office of Peter James Chambers today. As one of California's best criminal defense attorneys, our office is prepared to help you with your case and assist with whatever legal matters you need. Contact us today and you'll get a free consultation to discuss your case.