NRS 205.450: False Personation Laws in Nevada
Recently, a man was indicted for falsely impersonating an IRS employee. The man allegedly posed as an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent while targeting victims claiming he can get them tax refunds in excess of $100,000. If convicted, he faces 20+ years in prison.
In Nevada, it is a crime to impersonate another person. This law is found in NRS 205.450. It is important to know what this law says and what the penalties are for violating it, as well as some of the defenses that may be available to someone accused of this crime.
False personation is a serious crime in Nevada. It is defined as the act of pretending to be someone else with the intent to deceive or harm another person. False personation is considered category C felony, and carries severe penalties including jail time and fines.
What Is NRS 205.450 and What Does It Say
NRS 205.450 is the Nevada law that prohibits false personation. It reads:
Every person who shall falsely represent or personate another, and, in such assumed character, shall marry another, become bail or surety for any party, in any proceeding, civil or criminal, before any court or officer authorized to take such bail or surety, or confess any judgment, or acknowledge the execution of any conveyance of real property, or of any other instrument which, by law, may be recorded, or do any other act in the course of any suit, proceeding or prosecution, whereby the person so represented or personated may be made liable, in any event, to the payment of any debt, damages, cost or sum of money, or his or her right or interest may, in any manner be affected, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
Putting it in simpler terms, this NRS covers 5 basic acts of false personation:
- Marrying someone while pretending to be another person;
- Becoming a bail or surety in any court proceeding, civil or criminal;
- Confessing to a crime or civil judgment;
- Making a real estate transaction; and,
- Committing any action during the course of a lawsuit or proceeding which can affect another’s financial interests
As illustrated in the article above, prosecutors often add to a charge of false personation other criminal charges such as fraud, theft, or embezzlement.
What Are the Penalties for Violating NRS 205.450
According to NRS 205.450, personating another is a category C felony. This carries a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
Remember, if you are found to be receiving property under an assumed identity, it is considered stolen. In such a situation, not only will false impersonation charges follow suit but also theft charges that may result in similar felony penalties.
For example, the man was facing 20+ years in prison which includes charges of fraud and filing a false tax return, along with false impersonation.
How Can Someone Be Convicted of Violating NRS 205.450
In order to convict a person of violating NRS 205.450, the prosecution has to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Falsely represented or personated another;
- Did so with the intent to deceive or harm someone else; and,
- Committed one of the 5 acts outlined in the statute.
What Defenses Are Available to Someone Accused of Violating NRS 205.450
The most common defense to false personation charges is that the defendant did not have the intent to deceive or harm anyone. Without this element, the crime cannot be proven and a conviction can’t be achieved.
Another possible defense is that the defendant did not:
- Get married
- Acted as bail or surety in any legal proceeding
- Confess to a crime or civil action
- Enter into a real estate transaction
- Compromise the financial interest of another person in the course of a lawsuit
Finally, it’s possible that the defendant is the victim of mistaken identity. In such cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide evidence to exonerate their client and protect them from wrongful prosecution.
When Is False Personation Not a Crime
In some cases, false personation may not be a crime. If the false impersonation did not involve one of the five scenarios listed in the statute, the defendant could not be charged with this offense.
For example, if the defendant was merely pretending to be someone as a joke or as part of an act (e.g. during Halloween you dressed up as someone else), they would not be guilty of false personation.
What About Impersonating a Police Officer
Impersonating a police officer is specifically prohibited in Nevada and carries its own set of penalties. According to NRS 197.120, it’s a gross misdemeanor to falsely impersonate a public officer which includes a police officer.
Gross misdemeanors carry the following penalties:
- Up to 364 days in jail and/or
- Up to $2,000 in fines
Can My Records Get Sealed
If you are convicted of violating NRS 205.450, your records are available to the public and will remain that way for five years before you can petition for a record seal.
If the charges get dismissed, then you can petition to seal your records right away.
Hire a Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges of false personation, or any other criminal charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. They can review your case and develop a strategy to protect your rights and defend you against the charges. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine the best course of action and ensure that your rights are not violated during the course of the proceedings.
The Defenders is a criminal defense law firm whose lawyers defend clients arrested or charged with DUIs, felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence, sex crimes, murder, drug possession, white collar crimes and more than a dozen other criminal case categories.
Call us today for a strategy session to discuss your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the penalty for false personation in Nevada?
Violating NRS 205.450, or false personation, is a category C felony in Nevada and carries with it up to five (5) years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Can I get arrested for impersonating a police officer in Nevada?
Yes, impersonating a police officer is prohibited by law in Nevada and carries its own set of penalties which include up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. It is considered a gross misdemeanor. Additionally, if you commit a crime while pretending to be an officer, then you may face additional charges for that offense as well.
Can I be charged with false personation if I didn’t do anything wrong?
Yes, you can be charged for violating NRS 205.450; but remember that not all charges mean you actually committed a crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build your defense and prove that you are not guilty.
Does false personation go on my criminal record?
Yes, if you are convicted of violating NRS 205.450 then it will be on your criminal record and accessible to the public for five (5) years before you can petition to have it sealed.
If my charges get dismissed, can I have my records sealed?
Yes, if your charges are dismissed you can petition to have the records sealed right away. Once the records are sealed they become unavailable to the public and will be removed from any background checks. It is important that you speak with an attorney to learn more about