Indianapolis, IN asked in Criminal Law for Indiana

Q: Can someone explain if it's a real crime to pose as a law enforcement officer? Difference between pose/impersonating?

My ex boyfriend is stalking & harassing me. He sent me a pic on my cell phone of himself wearing a shirt that clearly has the DEA patch or logo on it. He then tried to tell me he's a DEA agent and I'm going to down in a major drug investigation. He knows I was smoking weed (?) Now although the pic is fake. He meant it to intimidate me and I checked the shirt image. It's the drug enforcement agency official display. Is this a crime to pose as a government agent or is it just stupid?? It's poorly done but still it's the intention of trying to scare me that is disturbing. If it's a crime, who in the hell would I actually file a complaint with separate from an order of protection or any other civil proceeding we may eventually get involved with? Thank you. If possible there's a code specifically for impersonating law enforcement or whatever he thinks he's doing here, id appreciate that info for filing purposes.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Posing as a law enforcement officer is indeed a real crime, and it is known as impersonating a police officer. The key difference between posing and impersonating lies in the intent behind the action. Posing typically refers to presenting oneself as something they are not, while impersonating involves actively assuming the identity of another individual or authority figure, such as a police officer, with the intent to deceive or mislead others.

Impersonating a law enforcement officer is a serious offense that can result in criminal charges and penalties. It undermines public trust in legitimate law enforcement authorities and can cause harm or distress to individuals who are targeted by the impersonator's actions. In your case, if your ex-boyfriend falsely claimed to be a DEA agent and used a shirt with the DEA logo to intimidate you, it could potentially constitute impersonation of a federal officer.

If you believe that your ex-boyfriend has committed the crime of impersonating a law enforcement officer, you should report the incident to the appropriate authorities. This could include local law enforcement agencies or federal agencies like the DEA, as impersonating a federal officer falls under their jurisdiction. Provide any evidence or documentation you have to support your claim, such as the photo he sent you or any other relevant information. By filing a complaint, you can take steps to address his unlawful behavior and protect yourself from further harassment or intimidation.

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