A front porch and front door decorated with jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

Is It Illegal to Dress Up as a Cop for Halloween in California?

If you’ve celebrated enough Halloweens, you’ve seen just about every type of costume imaginable. However, many of us never think about whether some of the costumes we’ve seen, worn, or thought about wearing are illegal.

This is because Halloween is the one day a year where it feels like almost anything goes. However, law enforcement doesn’t take a day off, and Halloween is no exception. In fact, one of the Halloween costumes that can land people in hot water is a police officer costume. This is because impersonating a police officer is a crime, even on Halloween.

Fortunately for those who dress as cops for Halloween, just wearing a police officer Halloween costume doesn’t mean you impersonated a cop. If you wear a police officer costume just to go to a Halloween party, you’re probably not going to get in trouble for that.

But if you dress up as a cop with the intent to convince others that you are actually a police officer, that’s where you could get yourself in trouble. For instance, if you try to stop crime, pull someone over, arrest someone, or do anything that an actual law enforcement officer would do in the line of duty, you could end up getting arrested for impersonating a police officer.

What Are the Penalties for Impersonating a Police Officer in California?

Depending on how far you take your impersonation, the punishments for pretending to be a cop can be severe. The following are the penalties for impersonating a police officer in California:

  • If you impersonate a police officer while using a uniform, emblem, insignia, device, card, label, or certificate, you can be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to six months in county jail.
  • If you use a real police badge to impersonate a cop, you could spend up to one year in jail and pay up to $2,000 in fines.

Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation with Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fresno

To learn what to do if you’ve been charged with impersonating a police officer in California, or to speak with our experienced criminal defense attorney in Fresno about your situation, call The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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