For obvious reasons, New Jersey’s Impersonating A Public Servant Or Law Enforcement Officer (N.J.S.A. 2C:28-8) criminalizes the acts of purposely misleading another into the belief that you are a public official or a law enforcement officer or agent.
How you can be sentenced depends on specifics. Pretending to hold a public service position with the purpose of inducing others to submit to the authority of the role is a disorderly persons offense, comparable to a misdemeanor in other states. Penalties can include up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted, though it’s not common for a judge to throw the book at a defendant in most cases.
If you pretend to be a cop or other law enforcement agent in New Jersey, things get more dangerous for you. It should be borne in mind that this law isn’t meant to criminalize Halloween costumes or things of that nature. You must have the intent, or purpose, to induce others to submit to your authority by falsely convincing them that you hold a position you do not.
Doing so is a crime of the fourth degree, which is comparable to a low level felony in other states, and carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Obviously, the statute leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which means that an experienced attorney can make a huge difference in your case. If you’re facing charges under 2C:28-8, get help right away. Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 to talk to a lawyer for free.