Impersonation (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The crime of pretending to be another individual in order to deceive others and gain some advantage.
The crime of false impersonation is defined by federal statutes and by state statutes that differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, pretending to be someone who does not actually exist can constitute false impersonation. For example, suppose Bill attempts to evade prosecution for a crime by giving the arresting officer a fictitious name and address. In Colorado, where "[a] person who knowingly assumes a false or fictitious identity and, under that identity, does any other act intending unlawfully to gain a benefit for himself is guilty of criminal impersonation," Bill could be charged with a crime (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-5-113 [West 1996]). In this situation, the benefit Bill hopes to realize is avoiding prosecution, so that element of the offense has been satisfied. To be charged, the defendant does not need to seek a monetary benefit from the impersonation.
In New York, giving only a fictitious name does not constitute false impersonation. Under New York law, criminal impersonation is committed when an individual "[i]mpersonates another and does an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another"(N.Y. Penal Law § 190.25 [McK-inney 1996]). In other words, it is illegal to impersonate a real person, but...
(The entire section is 579 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!