How Impersonation Can Get You in Trouble in Utah

Pretending to be someone else can be harmless. After all, actors make a living out of it. However, there are instances where impersonation can lead to prison time.

Impersonation is one of the most common crimes in Utah, and there are a variety of ways you can find yourself behind bars for it.

Impersonation of an Officer

If you are not a police officer or other government official, but you identify yourself as such, you can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, which results in up to six months in jail. In addition, you might have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 or do some kind of compensatory service.

It’s important to note that there is a caveat to this law. It is all about intention. If you dress up as an officer with the goal of deceiving someone or getting that person to do something under your fake authority, that’s  illegal. If you want to dress up as an officer for Halloween, you are probably fine as long as you don’t go around making false arrests.

Online Impersonation

Pretending to be someone on social media without that person’s permission is a class A misdemeanor, which can put you in jail for up to 364 days and includes a possible fine of up to $2,500. People who commit this crime often use a fake profile to defraud or cause harm to someone else. 

You’ve probably had run-ins with online impersonators. This can look like someone you don’t know duplicating a Facebook friend’s account and posing as them in a direct message to you. These impersonators try to gain a victim’s trust before tricking them into giving them money. If you ever get a friend request from someone who is already on your friend list, it is important to reach out to that person through their original profile to make sure the new one is legitimate.

You don’t have to defraud anyone to get charged with online impersonation. It can happen if you create a Facebook page that claims you are a celebrity without the person’s permission. It might seem like a funny prank to start chatting people up as Paris Hilton, but in reality it’s illegal.

If you are found guilty of online impersonation twice, it becomes a third-degree felony. This is a serious charge that includes prison time of up to five years and a possible fine of up to $5,000.

Double Voting 

This crime is another third-degree felony and can land you in prison. Double voting is when you either apply for a ballot using someone else’s name or try to vote twice under your own. 

You can get in trouble with this law no matter what name you use, whether the false identity is someone alive, dead, or even fictional. Trying to cast a ballot as Mickey Mouse can get you in legal trouble. No funny business is tolerated when it comes to voting.

As a convicted felon, you won’t be able to vote again until you are sentenced to probation, are granted parole, or have completed your prison time.

What To Do if You Are Accused of Impersonation

If you are charged with impersonation, you will want an experienced attorney to represent you. A good lawyer knows the ins and outs of the law and can navigate you to the best outcome. 

The lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat have over 20 years of experience, and they would be more than willing to help you. Call (801) 532-5297 for a free consultation.

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