What is California’s “False Personation” Law?

California Penal Codes 528-529 cover the “False Personation” Laws.

False Personation, as it is  written in PC 528, is more commonly known as false impersonation.  It takes place when you  assume the identity of another person in order to gain a personal benefit or cause harm to the other person. The purpose of the law is to prevent harm to the person being falsely represented and to ensure the integrity of the judicial and governmental process. The  false personation laws in California make it a crime to impersonate someone else in order to harm that person, or to gain a benefit for yourself.  The legal definition implies that the person whom you are impersonating is a real person (dead or alive) and not a fictitious one.

California Penal Code 528-529
528.  Every person who falsely personates another, and in such
assumed character marries or pretends to marry, or to sustain the
marriage relation towards another, with or without the connivance of
such other, is guilty of a felony.
529.  (a) Every person who falsely personates another in either his
or her private or official capacity, and in that assumed character
does any of the following, is punishable pursuant to subdivision (b):
  (1) Becomes bail or surety for any party in any proceeding
whatever, before any court or officer authorized to take that bail or
  (2) Verifies, publishes, acknowledges, or proves, in the name of
another person, any written instrument, with intent that the same may
be recorded, delivered, or used as true.
  (3) Does any other act whereby, if done by the person falsely
personated, he might, in any event, become liable to any suit or
prosecution, or to pay any sum of money, or to incur any charge,
forfeiture, or penalty, or whereby any benefit might accrue to the
party personating, or to any other person.
  (b) By a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by
imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or imprisonment
pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both that fine
and imprisonment. (the entire code can be reviewed here)

Penal Code 529 PC requires that in addition to identifying oneself falsely, you must commit an additional act beyond the initial false personation. This means that if you committed no such act, you should be acquitted of this charge.

If you have been charged with a violation of false personation,  call The Law Office of Elliott N. Kanter at 619-330-5881 to discuss your case confidentially.  Mr. Kanter is a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney with over 30 years experience  defending people just like you.  If you prefer, submit the secure online case review form for a prompt reply.  We are here to help you.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship.