2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 10 - Offenses Against Public Administration
Article 2 - Obstruction of Public Administration and Related Offenses
§ 16-10-23. Impersonating a Public Officer or Employee

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-10-23 (2020)

A person who falsely holds himself out as a peace officer or other public officer or employee with intent to mislead another into believing that he is actually such officer commits the offense of impersonating an officer and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both.

(Code 1933, § 26-2405, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1059, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Criminal penalty for false representation as representative of peace officer organization for purposes of soliciting donations, selling advertising, and other activities, § 16-9-57.

Impersonation of law enforcement officer by use of motor vehicle or motorcycle designed, equipped, or marked so as to resemble motor vehicle or motorcycle belonging to law enforcement agency, § 40-6-395.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Applicability to public employees.

- Habeas court erred in finding that O.C.G.A. § 16-10-23 was vague and ambiguous as applied to a person charged with impersonating an employee of the Department of Family and Children Services; the statute clearly gave notice that the statute applied to public employees as well as public officers, and the statute's purpose was served by including employees. Kennedy v. Carlton, 294 Ga. 576, 757 S.E.2d 46 (2014).

O.C.G.A.

§ 16-10-23 does not require victim be misled. - Defendant's contention that, because the victims never believed that defendant was a police officer, the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction of impersonating a police officer was without merit because the crime does not require that the victims actually be misled. Self v. State, 245 Ga. App. 270, 537 S.E.2d 723 (2000).

Because defendant kicked in the door of a home while shouting that the defendant was a "federal agent," fired a shotgun through a door, shooting off a victim's thumb, inserted the barrel of the shotgun in the same man's mouth, and demanded money, which the victims turned over, two codefendants identified defendant as the user of the shotgun, and defendant's DNA was found on a ski mask recovered from the getaway car and defendant's fingerprints were found on the car, evidence supported convictions for armed robbery, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault, burglary, aggravated battery, and impersonating an officer. Garrison v. State, 276 Ga. App. 243, 622 S.E.2d 910 (2005).

Conduct of accomplice.

- Evidence that the defendant's accomplice represented to the victims that they were police officers was sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt of the crime of impersonating a police officer. Murray v. State, 269 Ga. 871, 505 S.E.2d 746 (1998).

Evidence sufficient for conviction.

- See Williams v. State, 178 Ga. App. 80, 342 S.E.2d 18 (1986); Walker v. State, 225 Ga. App. 19, 482 S.E.2d 515 (1997); Sweeney v. State, 233 Ga. App. 862, 506 S.E.2d 150 (1998); Thompson v. State, 240 Ga. App. 26, 521 S.E.2d 876 (1999); Stewart v. State, 240 Ga. App. 375, 523 S.E.2d 592 (1999).

When the defendant failed to provide an investigating officer with the required documentation to prove that the defendant was a sheriff's deputy, and a telephone call to the sheriff's department confirmed that the defendant was no longer employed, when coupled with a sheriff commander's testimony that the defendant's employment had long been terminated, such evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction for impersonating a peace officer. Cain v. State, 259 Ga. App. 634, 577 S.E.2d 860 (2003).

Evidence that defendant and another person burst into a home after they had lured the victim brandishing an automatic gun and wearing black t-shirts that said "Sheriff," handcuffed the victim, took the victim's money, and forced the victim to write a bill of sale for the victim's motorcycle was sufficient to support convictions for robbery by intimidation, O.C.G.A. § 16-8-41(a), false imprisonment, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-41(a), aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21(a)(2), and impersonating a peace officer, O.C.G.A. § 16-10-23. Powers v. State, 303 Ga. App. 326, 693 S.E.2d 592 (2010).

Evidence that the defendant phoned an officer and self-identified as an "agent," used common police terminology, and told the officer that the Metro Atlanta Human Trafficking Task Force got the case was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for impersonating a peace officer. Libri v. State, 346 Ga. App. 420, 816 S.E.2d 417 (2018).

Defendant's identification as an investigator to a missing child's mother was sufficient to support a conviction for impersonating a peace officer. Libri v. State, 346 Ga. App. 420, 816 S.E.2d 417 (2018).

Cited in In the Interest of B.M., 289 Ga. App. 214, 656 S.E.2d 855 (2008).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 32 Am. Jur. 2d, False Pretenses, § 16.

C.J.S.

- 35 C.J.S., False Pretenses, §§ 7, 8.

ALR.

- Intent as affecting false personation, as regards criminal offense, 97 A.L.R. 1510.

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