Articles Posted in Impersonationg an Officer

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A registered sex offender was arrested for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Officials believe this is not the first time the man has done this – they claim it’s the 14th time.

The 48-year-old Frostproof man was arrested Thursday after deputies claim he pulled up to a traffic crash involving a vehicle and some livestock.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office claim that they were investigating the scene in the area of Collany Lane and U.S. 27 when the man pulled up in a Ford Crown Victoria, activated a set of emergency lights, got out of the car and offered to help deputies.

The deputies apparently declined the offer, and the man got back into his car and drove north on U.S. 27 with the lights still activated.

Another vehicle then drove up and the people inside identified themselves as deputies with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office. They said the man was wanted for impersonating a law enforcement officer in their county, and they had been following him when he stopped at the crash site.

The man returned to the crash scene, emergency lights still flashing, as additional deputies arrived to assist. The man allegedly stopped near one of the patrol cars and spoke to a deputy, and then he pulled out a wallet that had a gold Private Investigator badge inside with “Chief” engraved on it.

Deputies allege the man presented the badge and identified himself as a Fugitive Recovery Agent. The wallet apparently contained several other cards identifying him as a private investigator, a “law enforcement detective,” a member of veteran’s groups and a member of the clergy. Another card identified him as a retired Major in the Marine Corps.

Deputies claim the man’s vehicle was equipped with a front push bar, emergency lights in the front and rear windows, a prisoner cage, caging over the rear windows, a spotlight and a scanner.

When deputies asked about his identification cards, the man allegedly first said he was a licensed private investigator in South Carolina, then later said he never claimed to be any of the things indicated on the cards. He also said he had never been a major in the military.

The man was arrested on charges of committing criminal actions under color of law to hinder a public officer’s duties, impersonation of a bail bondsman and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

He is also facing charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and illegal use of police insignia out of Highlands County.

Deputies believe the man has been charged 13 times for impersonating a law enforcement officer in several states in the Southeast, including a 2010 incident where he was arrested at a Dunedin Publix after shoplifting candy and sticker books.

Police also claim the man is a registered sexual offender, and was convicted of a sex offense in South Carolina in 1992.

According to Florida law, falsely impersonating a police officer occurs when a person:

  1. Falsely assumes or pretends to be a law enforcement officer; AND
  2. Takes it upon himself or herself to act as a law enforcement officer

This crime is classified as a third-degree felony. If convicted of this offense, the following penalties can be imposed:

  • Up to five years in prison.
  • Up to five years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

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A man with a fake pilot’s license was recently arrested in the Florida Keys.

According to authorities in the Florida Keys, the man was apparently flying customers in an unregistered plane.

The Marathon, Florida man allegedly showed investigators a fake pilot’s license and was advertising for customers on the social networking site Facebook.

Investigators noted that the light sport aircraft was “falling apart due to saltwater exposure.”

The man was charged with felony possession of an unregistered aircraft and felony operation of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner. Additional charges could follow, according to police.

The man posted $10,000 bond Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the matter.

Impersonating a licensed professional in Florida carries very serious consequences. A Monroe County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you achieve the best possible resolution for your case. Being charged with this type of offense usually results in a complex set of legal issues. As former prosecutors, we can investigate the details leading up to your arrest and identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies in the government’s case against you.

pilot betch.jpgIt is a felony in Florida for any person who is not licensed to practice a profession that requires a license certifying their qualifications or to pretend to be licensed to practice a profession that requires licensure. Such professions can include:

• Pilots
• Doctors
• Teachers
• Physicians
• Attorneys

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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
released.

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.

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