Pretending to be a police officer may seem harmless, however many people are unaware that it is a criminal offence that can attract harsh penalties under the law.
When questioned by someone who looks like a police officer, most people will simply comply with any requests made of them.
However, when that person is not actually a police officer, it can result in the other person suffering harm or detriment.
Section 546D of the Crimes Act therefore deals with the offence of “impersonating police.”
Essentially, the type of conduct that might result in charges under section 546D involves deceiving another person into thinking that you are a police officer.
You won’t be charged with a criminal offence where you pretend to be a police officer purely for satirical purposes – for example, where you dress up as a police officer simply for a joke.
In these cases, you could face a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment.
You could also face additional penalties if you commit the offence in “aggravating circumstances.”
This means that where you impersonate or pretend to be a police officer AND you attempt to exercise a “function or power” of a police officer, you could face a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
Examples of conduct that might result in charges under section 546D include:
- Claiming to be a police officer in order to ‘arrest’ someone;
- Pretending to be a police officer in order to obtain a witness statement or information relating to the commission of a crime;
- Claiming to be a police officer in order to stop a vehicle;
- Pretending to be a police officer and conducting a search on someone or their property
However, because of the serious consequences that can result, it’s important to make sure that you don’t take these types of pranks too far.
If you have been charged with impersonating a police officer, it’s important to seek legal advice from a highly experienced criminal lawyer.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialises exclusively in criminal law and can give you the advice and representation you need when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.
546D Impersonation of police officers
(1) General offence A person who impersonates a police officer is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years, or a fine of 100 penalty units, or both.
(2) Aggravated offence A person who, with intent to deceive:
(a) impersonates a police officer, and
(b) purports to exercise a power or function as a police officer, is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 7 years.
(3) An offence against subsection (1) is a summary offence.
(4) In this section:”impersonation” does not include conduct engaged in solely for satirical purposes.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers has had considerable experience dealing with offences against police and our lawyers are passionate about protecting our clients’ rights and interests.
Our lawyers can advise you of your options when it comes to fighting the charges; including any possible defences that can be raised.
In every case, we seek to have the charges dropped at an early stage outside of court by identifying weaknesses in the prosecution case.
For example, in some cases we can obtain evidence to show that your actions were merely for satirical purposes, which will result in the charges being dropped.
If the matter ends up in court, you can count on our senior defence team to give you the best possible representation.
As highly experienced criminal lawyers with a wealth of knowledge in this field, they will prepare a strong case to prove your side of the story in a compelling manner.
Alternatively, if you wish to plead guilty, we will work hard to ensure that you get the best possible outcome by persuading the magistrate or judge to deal with the matter leniently.
We will push to have the matter heard in the Local Court, where the maximum penalties are much lower.
We will also persuade the magistrate to deal with the matter by way of a section 10, which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record.
This means that your work and travel plans for the future will not be affected by the offence.
Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book a FREE first conference to discuss your matter with one of our experts.