Impersonating a Police Officer, N.J.S.A. 2c:28-8

Impersonating a Police Officer, N.J.S.A. 2c:28-8(b), New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic court, municipal court, juvenile defense, attorney, lawyerAre you curious about Impersonating a Police Officer? Police in Jackson, New Jersey filed a complaint against a motorist for this offense, per the news. The charge stemmed from a car stop five days earlier. During the stop, the motorist allegedly identified himself as with the NJ Attorney General’s Office, per the Ocean Signal. Additionally, the motorist said he was allegedly working undercover on drug investigations with the Division of Criminal Justice. But a police investigation discovered evidence to contradict this. Consequently, the cops charged him with impersonating a police officer.

Additionally, in an unrelated Camden County matter, a defendant charged with sexual crimes called the alleged victim from jail. During the call, the defendant pretended to be a police officer. Indeed, he impersonated a detective to stop the witness from testifying against him, per the news. Consequently, a jury convicted him of various sex crimes as well as terroristic threats, witness tampering, and impersonating a police officer.

Impersonating a Police Officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-8

To be certain, dressing up as a police officer is not enough for the State to charge an individual with this crime. This is so because this law requires proof not only that the person pretended to be a cop. Instead, it requires proof that the person wanted to get another either to submit to the fabricated authority or to rely on the false representation.

Fourth Degree Crime

Accordingly, under New Jersey law, a person commits a fourth degree crime if he falsely

  • pretends to hold a position of any organization or association of law enforcement officers as an
    • officer,
    • member,
    • employee, or
    • agent
  • with purpose to
    • induce another to submit to the pretended official authority or
    • otherwise to act in reliance upon that pretense.

Therefore, the State must prove each of the following essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. Indeed, the State must prove to the jury that the defendant pretended to hold a position as an officer, member, employee, or agent of any organization or association of law enforcement officers. Additionally, the State must prove to the jury the representation was false. Furthermore, the State must prove to the jury at that time the defendant knew the information was false. Finally, the State must prove to the jury at that time the defendant provided that information with the purpose to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority or otherwise to act in reliance upon that pretense.

Impersonating a Public Servant

Disorderly Persons Offense

Alternatively, New Jersey law also defines a petty offense for impersonating a police officer. Accordingly, a person commits a disorderly persons offense if he falsely pretends to hold a position in the public service with purpose to induce another to submit to the pretended official authority or otherwise to act in reliance upon that pretense.

Sentencing Exposure

Fourth Degree Crime

  • Fines: Up to $10,000.00
  • State Prison: Up to 18 months
  • Victims of Crime Compensation Assessment (VCCA): $50.00 (or $100)
  • Safe Neighborhood Services Fund Assessment: $75
  • Law Enforcement Officer Training & Equipment Fund: $30
  • Probation: 1 to 5 years, conditioned on county jail up to 364 days
  • Suspended Sentence: Up to 5 years
  • Additional Penalties:
    • Community service
    • Court Costs

Disorderly Persons Offense

  • Fines: $1,000.00
  • County Jail: Up to 6 months
  • Victims of Crime Compensation Assessment (VCCA): $50.00 (or $100)
  • Safe Neighborhood Services Fund Assessment: $75
  • Additional Penalties:
    • Community service
    • Court Costs

Legislative History

Originally the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice only defined the disorderly persons offense for impersonating a public servant. Indeed, the legislature intended to mirror Model Penal Code 241.9. In the year 2000, however, the legislature amended this statute by enacting the fourth degree crime of impersonating a police officer. Additionally, the fourth degree crime also applies to impersonating an officer, member, employee, or agent of any organization or association of law enforcement officers.

Did the cops charge you with impersonating a police officer?

New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Impersonating a Police Officer under N.J.S.A. 2c:28-8.


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