Impersonating Public Servant

Texas Criminal Law

The Texas Impersonating Public Servant crime gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you pretended to be a public servant, like a judge, and you did this in order to get someone to obey your pretend authority.

The 86th Texas Legislature made changes to this law in 2019. These changes are addressed in the current law section below.

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Impersonating Public Servant is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 8 “Offenses Against Public Administration,” Chapter 37 “Perjury And Other Falsification.”

Learn more detailed information about the Impersonating Public Servant offense below.

What is the current Texas law about Impersonating Public Servant?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Impersonating Public Servant in Penal Code Section §37.11 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to the person’s pretended official authority or to rely on the person’s pretended official acts; or

(2) knowingly purports to exercise, without legal authority, any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court.

The Texas legislature updated this law in 2019. Subsection (a)(1) was gender-neutralized. A more substantive change was made to subdivision (a)(2). The subdivision (a)(2) law in effect prior to September 1, 2019, was as follows:

(2) knowingly purports to exercise any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court, and the position or office through which he purports to exercise a function of a public servant or public office has no lawful existence under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States.

How can I be charged with Impersonating Public Servant?

You can be charged with Impersonating Public Servant if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 37.11(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Impersonating Public Servant?

A conviction for Impersonating Public Servant is punished as a Third Degree Felony,[2] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §37.11^2. Texas Penal Code §37.11(b)

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