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Impersonating a peace officer, fire fighter, or other emergency personnel charges are serious.  Hire the best to defend you: (414) 270-0202

Impersonating a peace officer, fire fighter, or other emergency personnel charges are incredibly serious.  This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 9 months in jail and $10,000.00 in fines.  In certain circumstances, this offense is a Class H felony, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 6 years in prison.  Although that’s certainly on the mitigated end of all potential criminal penalties, it’s important to remember that prosecutors regularly work with the victims in this type of case.  There’s a significant chance they’ll want to punish you more harshly because of those relationships.

What’s the best way to fight an aggressive prosecutor?  An aggressive criminal defense lawyer.  At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. you’ll certainly find that in all of our attorneys.  100% of our practice is criminal defense.  So that means we’re completely familiar with the charges you’re facing.  We’re constantly focused on criminal defense, which makes it easier to achieve a positive result in your case.

Finally, there’s no reason to wait.  Some people pretend criminal charges aren’t coming and simply hope they go away.  That doesn’t win positive results.  Retaining a top attorney to fight your charges from the very beginning certainly does.  Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. and let’s start fighting today.  (414) 270-0202.

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What is impersonating a peace officer, fire fighter, or other emergency personnel?

Section 946.70 of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits impersonating a peace officer. The law says:

(1)
(a)Except as provided in sub. (2), whoever impersonates a peace officer with intent to mislead others into believing that the person is actually a peace officer is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) Except as provided in sub. (2), whoever impersonates a fire fighter with intent to mislead others into believing that the person is actually a fire fighter is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) Except as provided in sub. (2), whoever impersonates an emergency medical services practitioner, as defined in s. 256.01 (5), with intent to mislead others into believing that the person is actually an emergency medical services practitioner is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) Except as provided in sub. (2), whoever impersonates an emergency medical responder, as defined in s. 256.01 (4p), with intent to mislead others into believing that the person is actually an emergency medical responder is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(2) Any person violating sub. (1) with the intent to commit or aid or abet the commission of a crime other than a crime under this section is guilty of a Class H felony.
Finally, the law is relatively straightforward.  It’s illegal to impersonate a peace officer, fire fighter, emergency medical services practitioner, or emergency medical responder with intent to mislead others.  The offense reaches a Class H felony if the subterfuge is used to help commit a crime.

What are the elements of the offense?

Firstly, all crimes in Wisconsin have elements.  An element is a part of an offense.  And finally, unless the government proves each element beyond a reasonable doubt, the government cannot sustain a conviction against you.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1830 provides the elements of impersonating a peace officer, fire fighter, or other emergency personnel:

  • Firstly, the defendant impersonated a peace officer, fight fighter, emergency medical services practitioner, or emergency medical responder; and
  • Secondly, the defendant impersonated the individual with the intent to mislead someone else into believing that he or she was actually a peace officer, fire fighter, emergency medical services practitioner, or emergency medical responder; and
  • Thirdly (only for felony charges), the defendant acted with intent to commit, or aid and abet the commission of a crime.

Certainly this isn’t the most complex crime in Wisconsin.  But there are a few important things we should point out on the front end:

Impersonate means to assume the identity or characteristics of, represent oneself to be, or pretend to be another person without authority to do so.  One may impersonate another by verbal declarations as well as by obvious physical impersonations such as wearing a badge or a uniform.

peace officer is a person vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for crime, whether that duty extends to all crimes or is limited by specific crimes.

Does this include impersonating a police officer?

Well, does a police officer have a “duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for crime”?  And is he “vested by law” in that duty? Yes. And yes.  Impersonating a police officer and impersonating a peace officer are the same thing.  If you pretend to be a cop, you can be charged under this section depending on the circumstances of your situation.

Finally, people are frequently charged for this version of the crime.  For example, in a recent case a man was charged after going into a Walgreens while wearing a tactical vest and possessing a firearm.  He told individuals that he “worked in law enforcement.”  Does this satisfy the elements of the offense?  It sure does.  Charges like this could certainly seem problematic, but it’s important we remember one point: this guy wouldn’t have been charged unless he made the comment regarding law enforcement.  Simply wearing a tactical vest and gun certainly does not expose you to criminal liability.

fake sheriff badge for impersonating a peace officer
Impersonating a peace officer is a crime in Wisconsin. Contact our criminal defense lawyers at (414) 270-0202 if you face charges for this offense.

Finally, why should I hire Meyer Van Severen to defend me?

Firstly, there aren’t many law firms in Wisconsin that focus 100% of their practice on criminal defense.  Certainly there aren’t many in southeastern Wisconsin.  At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. criminal defense is all we do.  Comparatively, this constant dedication to criminal law helps us achieve better results for you.

Impersonating a peace officer is certainly a serious criminal offense.  If you’re charged with this crime, do you really want to trust some guy who splits half his time doing divorces?  We wouldn’t.

Finally, remember that we answer calls 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.  Contact us immediately and let’s start fighting your case.