Orlando Florida Highway Patrol arrested two-time Monster Energy Supercross star James “Bubba” Stewart of Bartow, Florida Monday night after he tried pulling over two off-duty highway patrol officers while pretending to be a police officer.
The arrest affidavits show that 25-year-old Stewart was arrested with his friend, a 44-year-old man from Corona, California.
The Associated Press reports that Stewart had red and blue lights on the dashboard of his truck when he attempted to pull over two off-duty troopers who identified themselves. Stewart sped off after realizing the men were law enforcement.
The troopers called authorities and Stewart and his friend were stopped and arrested at the Orlando International Airport.
Both men allegedly agreed to talk with the arresting officers. Stewart supposedly admitted he activated the lights and his friend shared he hid them in his backpack when officers pulled them over. Stewart said he got the lights at a flea market.
Stewart’s friend was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. Stewart’s charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Both men were transported to Orange County jail where they posted cash bonds and were
In Florida it is illegal to deceitfully pretend to be a police officer, a federal officer or employee or any other public official. Although the laws vary from state to state, Florida considers it a crime to use paraphernalia used by law enforcement officers, such as the red and blue flashing lights Stewart used to flag down the troopers. It is also a crime to flash a fake police badge and possession of a firearm could enhance the penalty for false impersonation of a police officer.
Tampering with evidence is the deliberate and planned physical exploitation, demolition or fabrication of evidence pertinent to a criminal case or investigation. This charge is very important to the ethical standing of the court and often results in at least third degree felony penalties. Possible consequences for a tampering with evidence conviction include possible jail time, probation or parole, restitution and community service.
If you have been charged with impersonating a police officer or tampering with evidence in Florida, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).