Criminal Impersonation occurs, much like the name suggests, when a person falsely assumes a different identity. Colorado case law has defined it as “to pretend to be a particular person without lawful authority.” The most commonly charged example of Criminal Impersonation is when the defendant uses another person’s credit card. However, the statute provides other examples. A person is guilty of this offense when they assume a false identity and:
- Marry or pretend to marry someone, or
- Becomes bail or surety for another in a court action, or
- Confesses a judgment or provides a written instrument, or
- Performs any other act with the intent to unlawfully gain benefit for themselves, or to injure or defraud another.
Criminal Impersonation is a class 6 felony and carries a possible prison sentence of 18 months in the Department of Corrections. It is also considered to be a crime of “moral turpitude,” which means it can have serious adverse immigration consequences if the defendant is not a United States citizen.
Criminal Impersonation is frequently charged alongside the crime of Unauthorized Use of a Financial Transaction Device. As mentioned above, when a person uses a credit card belonging to someone else without the other person’s consent, they are simultaneously committing both the crime of Unauthorized Use of a Financial Transaction Device (the credit card), as well as Criminal Impersonation – since they are pretending to be the true owner of the credit card.
A person is guilty of Criminal Impersonation even if they assume the identity of a dead person.