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Second Degree Criminal Impersonation: NY Penal Law 190.25

You’ve been arrested for Second Degree Criminal Impersonation, New York Penal Law 190.25. As you sit waiting to see a judge in Manhattan’s Central Booking or you impatiently tap your foot in a small jail cell before the NYPD releases you from a Brooklyn precinct with a Desk Appearance Ticket, there are likely countless thoughts racing through your mind ranging from how did you ever get arrested for and what are the penalties associated with a Second Degree Criminal Impersonation arrest. For that matter, how you are going to find a criminal defense attorney in New York for PL 190.25 and what are the potential penalties if convicted? A serious misdemeanor crime with equally serious consequences, if you are charged with and convicted of Second Degree Criminal Impersonation not only will you have to contend with a potential sentence of up to one year in jail, three years probation and community service, but that may be the mere tip of the proverbial iceberg.

A crime of fraud, deceit and arguably a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, there is little doubt that a conviction for PL 190.25 will disrupt your career and employment, hamper your professional licensure and certification, and potentially irreparably damage your immigration and legal status in the United States.

Second Degree Criminal Impersonation: Understanding NY PL 190.25

There are four different theories and subsections of PL 190.25 that on their own make up the crime of Second Degree Criminal Impersonation in New York. The first offense, PL 190.25(1) makes it a crime to impersonate another person. Obviously, merely pretending to be another person is not criminal, but if you assume that person’s character with the intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another person, you have violated the law.

You are guilty of PL 190.25(2) if you pretend to be a representative of some person or organization and act in this fictitious capacity with the intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another person.

Similar to the above subsections, you are guilty of PL 190.25(3) if you pretend to be a public servant, or wear some badge or insignia distinguishing yourself as that public servant, or falsely express by words or actions that you are a public servant or are acting with the authority of a public agency. In playing this part you must also have the intent to induce another person to submit to your bogus official authority to solicit funds or otherwise cause another to act in reliance upon that pretense.

The last subsection of Second Degree Criminal Impersonation, PL 190.25(4), makes it a class “A” misdemeanor to impersonate another person through an internet or electronic communication with the intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud another person. Alternatively, if you communicate through the same means such as through an internet website and pretend to be a public servant in order to induce another person to submit to your authority or act in reliance on such a pretense, you are also guilty of this crime.

Second Degree Criminal Impersonation: Issues and Defenses

One of the biggest concerns you should have if you are accused of or investigated for Second Degree Criminal Impersonation in New York is the potential of your arrest going from a misdemeanor to a felony. Briefly, you are guilty of First Degree Criminal Impersonation, New York Penal Law 190.26, if you pretend to be a police or federal law enforcement officer and induce someone to submit to your fake authority during the course of your attempted commission of any felony. Not quite similar, but nonetheless a felony, instead of a police officer, if you pretend to be a licensed physician or person able to authorize a prescription for any drug, instrument or device used in the taking or administering of drugs for which a prescription is required, you communicate to a pharmacist an oral prescription which is required to be made in writing, you are guilty of this crime. A class “E” felony, the penalty and punishment for First Degree Criminal Impersonation is up to four years in prison and five years probation.

Whether you are charged with felony or misdemeanor Criminal Impersonation is obviously both relevant and consequential, but your best defenses to such an arrest are more important once you find yourself in a criminal court. The defense your criminal defense lawyer decides is the best to pursue is contingent on many factors. As a preliminary matter, how can the police or District Attorney confirm you are the false impersonator if, for example, your communications are alleged to have occurred online? Was there IP information preserved and, if so, was the internet service provided on Wi-Fi without password protection? For that matter, did the police secure or examine the computer or phone alleged to be part of the scheme pursuant to a search warrant? If you were not caught in the act, did the police conduct a lineup? Does the District Attorney have your fake police badge, clothing or insignia reflecting you were putting yourself out as a public servant? If so, how did they legally come into its possession? By no means all the potential defenses, the questions your criminal defense attorney will ask and routes he or she will pursue in your defense are many.

Whether you are a first time offender with a pristine criminal record who was issued a Desk Appearance Ticket for PL 190.25 in NYC or a person with a criminal record waiting to see a judge on yet another arrest, you cannot change the past. Regardless of the strength of the case against you, or lack thereof, if you do not take the steps now to protect yourself you will inch that much closer to the point of “no return.” An indelible and permanent criminal record relating to fraud and deceit will be a crutch to limp with through the rest of your life.

Because there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law to get your life and future back on track.

Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors.

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