The state of Ohio, and police and prosecutors in Cleveland, have a vested interest in ensuring that when a citizen is ordered to do something by a person displaying law enforcement insignia, that the insignia is valid and the person displaying it is properly empowered to conduct their activities.
To this end, it is a crime in Ohio to put law enforcement insignia on your vehicle, and doing so can result in charges of Unlawful display of law enforcement emblem (O.R.C. 2913.441).
Unlawful display of law enforcement emblem is a minor misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $150, but no jail time. This may not seem like a big deal to you now, but consider how common it is for employers to screen job applicants with extensive background checks. In some cases, longstanding employees have been fired when an old misdemeanor conviction was uncovered years later, even if the offense happened prior to the person working for the company. Don’t take chances when you’re facing any criminal charge with severe penalties.
Personating an Officer (O.R.C. 2913.44)
Personating an officer (O.R.C. 2913.44) in Cleveland is typically referred to as “impersonating an officer,” and requires conduct much more significant than, say, dressing up as a police officer for your office Halloween party.
Rather, to protect the public trust between citizens and police, Personating an officer requires that you impersonate a law enforcement officer, an inspector, investigator, or agent of any governmental agency with a purpose to defraud or knowledge that you are facilitating a fraud, or with purpose to induce another to purchase property or services.
Because of the extreme importance of the public trust between law enforcement or other government agents and citizens, prosecutors in Cleveland take charges of Personating an officer extremely seriously.
Though the charge is graded as a First Degree Misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months in jail, you can count on the other side to try to tack on every related charge they think they can pin on you for your conduct.
This can have significant negative consequences, penalties from jail time to a criminal record you’ll have to live with for years or the rest of your life.
The attorneys at Patituce & Associates can help protect you from the consequences of even minor misdemeanor convictions like the unlawful display of a law enforcement emblem. Call us today for a free consultation with an experienced Cleveland unlawful display of law enforcement emblem defense attorney.