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The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea

By Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – H. Michael Steinberg

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea  – This topic arises most often when a person is stopped or otherwise contacted by the police and gives the officer – for a whole host of possible reasons  such as there is a traffic warrant out for that person – a false name to avoid the arrest.  In this situation – what may have resulted in a misdemeanor charge – now is charged as the felony crime of criminal impersonation.

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 - Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea

The Colorado Crime of Criminal Impersonation – 18-5-113

18-5-113. Criminal impersonation

(1) A person commits criminal impersonation if he or she knowingly:

(a) Assumes a false or fictitious identity or legal capacity, and in such identity or capacity he or she:

(I) Marries, or pretends to marry, or to sustain the marriage relation toward another without the connivance of the latter;

(II) Becomes bail or surety for a party in an action or proceeding, civil or criminal, before a court or officer authorized to take the bail or surety; or

(III) Confesses a judgment, or subscribes, verifies, publishes, acknowledges, or proves a written instrument which by law may be recorded, with the intent that the same may be delivered as true;

or

(b) Assumes a false or fictitious identity or capacity, legal or other, and in such identity or capacity he or she:

(I) Performs an act that, if done by the person falsely impersonated, might subject such person to an action or special proceeding, civil or criminal, or to liability, charge, forfeiture, or penalty; or

(II) Performs any other act with intent to unlawfully gain a benefit for himself, herself, or another or to injure or defraud another.

(2) Criminal impersonation is a class 6 felony.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, using false or fictitious personal identifying information, as defined in section 18-5-901 (13), shall constitute the assumption of a false or fictitious identity or capacity.

“Assuming A False Or Fictitious Identity Or Capacity”

Analyzing Section 18-5-113(1) begins with an understanding of the twp pronged requirement of this crime :

Prong (1)  – The mental state of  knowingly “assuming a false or fictitious identity or capacity, and in that identity or capacity…

Prong (2)  – The doing of any act with intent to unlawfully gain a benefit or injure or defraud another.

Avoiding An Arrest By Using A False Identity

Where a defendant’s knowing use of a false or fictitious identity or capacity with the intent to unlawfully gain a benefit for himself or another person or to injure or defraud another person and that benefit to avoid arrest by the police on an outstanding warrant – the crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Stated another way – the crime of criminal impersonation requires a showing of BOTH (1) the assumption of a false identity AND (2) an act with intent unlawfully to gain a benefit or to defraud another – therefore ..

“if evidence of defendant’s conduct establishes that he assumed a false identity and, in that identity, acted with intent to deceive the police so as to avoid prosecution, and because the prosecution was not required to prove an additional, separate act, defendant is not entitled to have his conviction set aside based on insufficiency of the evidence.”

Closer Analysis Of The Colorado Crime Of Criminal Impersonation – 18-5-113

A close reading of the law requires understanding the contains the words “assumes a false or fictitious identity or capacity.” Colorado case law has interpreted this word  “Assumes” as meaning to “to arrogate, seize, usurp” the identity of another.

Therefore holding yourself out to a third party as being someone else when asked who you are – and then doing this in combination with any of the acts listed in the law  – means the crime of criminal impersonation has been committed.

Under the law the prohibited conduct in the Colorado criminal impersonation statute can be “seamless” in the way that it is committed.  What that means is that in response to the question asked, “who are you?” if you answer falsely to gain an unlawful benefit such as avoiding an arrest on an existing warrant –  you have committed the felony 6.  The “benefit” of avoiding arrest on an outstanding warrant, that is hiding your true identity to avoid an outstanding arrest warrant – even if that warrant is for a minor crime – can mean a felony charge.

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea – The False Capacity

False capacity as used in this law – means a false ” legal qualification, competency, power, or fitness.” False capacity refers to a false legal capacity.

The law prohibits the assumption of a “false capacity” ONLY when that capacity is used to perform any of the acts described in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(e) of the statute. § 18-5-113.

Each of the acts described in those subsections directly involves the law and each subsection either creates relationships defined in law or involves actions before the court.

A defendant violates the Colorado criminal impersonation statute when he obtains a money order by falsely claiming that he was the husband of the named payee.

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea  – The False Identity

The common meaning of the phrase ‘ assumes a false or fictitious identity’ means to hold oneself out as someone that he or she is not.”  One assumes a “false identity” under the Colorado criminal impersonation statute 18-5-113 by holding one’s self out to a third party as being another person.

The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea

Denver Colorado False Reporting Criminal Defense Lawyer

Colorado Criminal DefenseABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author  hmichaelsteinberg@hmichaelsteinberg.com  or call his office at 303-627-7777 – or call his cell 720-227-7777.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Criminal Impersonation under 18-5-113, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience –  specializing only in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range.  He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.  Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case.  So call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases. Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defenses for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …The Colorado Felony Of Criminal Impersonation 18-5-113 – Why Lying To The Police About Your Identity Is A Bad Idea.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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