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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 11491
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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My 17 year old son and hie friends were pulled over for flasing

Customer Question

My 17 year old son and hie friends were pulled over for flasing white hunting lights, they never got out of the car never had a badge or said anything , there trying to charge him with inpersonating a officer a felony can they do that the lights were white

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Just to be clear, did they attempt to pull over someone else, as though they were a police officer?

Customer:

they were flashing a white light bar used for hunting ,but never pulled them over to a stop or got out of the vechicle or announced they were the police

ScottyMacEsq :

Was this to friends (as a prank) or strangers?

ScottyMacEsq :

And the intent was to get other cars to stop (as though they were police officers)?

Customer:

strangers, just kids being stupid

ScottyMacEsq :

And these strangers did pull over and stop (again, as though they were being pulled over by a police officer or other public servant)?

Customer:

i am really not too sure maybe they did

ScottyMacEsq :

Was he the driver of the vehicle at the time, or a passenger?

Customer:

driver there were three kids with him ,

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you. I do need to convey the seriousness of these charges, in that if they stay (and are not reduced, or otherwise dealt with) they could be the basis for a valid case against your son. Here's the specific law:

ScottyMacEsq :

§ 37.11. IMPERSONATING PUBLIC SERVANT. (a) A person commits an offense if he: (1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely on his pretended official acts; or (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. (b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

ScottyMacEsq :

Clearly number (2) is not what is being charged. So we'll look at (1).

ScottyMacEsq :

(a) A person commits an offense if he: (1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely on his pretended official acts;

ScottyMacEsq :

This requires intent and impersonation.

ScottyMacEsq :

It could be that the intent is lacking, in that if the white lights don't really look like police lights, and he wasn't really trying to pull anyone over, it could be argued that he did not really have the intent to impersonate an officer (but was trying to get people out of the way, etc...)

Customer:

I have a lawyer right now yes I am so scared he has never done anything like this, I do understand how this may impact him is there anything prior to the charges being filed we can do he has not been charged yet ? you never know is your lawyer good enough

ScottyMacEsq :

There's not really anything that you can do prior to the charges being filed. It's entirely possible that this is not even referred to the prosecution. You see, the police decide which cases that it gets to refer to the DA's office. Then the DA's office decides which cases that it takes to a grand jury (in felony matters).

ScottyMacEsq :

You can contact the DA's office and inquire about their intent to do so, and the willingness of your son to enter into some plea agreement (pleading down to some misdemeanor, etc...)

Customer:

the officer that pulled them over stated that he was not trying to impersonate a office because of the color ,but then they investigated it they say they have a witness

ScottyMacEsq :

A misdemeanor is indicted by way of "information", where a felony has to be through a grand jury.

ScottyMacEsq :

And that (the statement of not trying to impersonate) might be a "fact question" for the jury (if it goes to court).

ScottyMacEsq :

The good thing (possibly) is that as a felony, it has to go to a grand jury.

ScottyMacEsq :

If this is a county that is large and has lots of violent crimes, etc..., a harmless prank by a 17 year old might not be something that the felony division of the DA's office views worth pursuing.

ScottyMacEsq :

(They don't have to pursue it)

Customer:

yes they said the the D A wants to press charges that is where it is going they have not recieved it I do not know if the D A wants to press charges or the detective

ScottyMacEsq :

That's hard to say without knowing about your particular case. If the DA is going to charge, you could contact the DA and inquire about "pleading down". Once it is charged, you can seek "pretrial diversions" (such as deferred adjudication, where your son "pleads guilty" but they put it on "pause", such that if he keeps his nose clean and doesn't do anything else, then the case gets dismissed in a year or two), etc...

ScottyMacEsq :

But that's generally after the charging of the crime that that is a possibility.

Customer:

Yes it is a large county in Texas with lots of issues we have never had a issue like this i really do not know what to do ,Like I said he is a great kid he done a stupid thing he just started driving this year we shelter him he is a pediatric cancer surviour,he never has done anything i mean anything before

ScottyMacEsq :

I understand. Is your attorney's office within walking distance of the courthouse (and is he/she a criminal law specific attorney?)

Customer:

yes a criminal laywer yes close in downtown

ScottyMacEsq :

Generally speaking, someone that is within walking distance of the courthouse and does this for a living is going to be pretty good. (Walking distance means that they go to court often, in that distance to the courthouse was a significant factor in choosing office space). That also might mean that he/she will know the prosecutor involved in the case that it's referred to, etc...

ScottyMacEsq :

The best thing to do is to let the attorney do his/her job. The state has the burden of proving all the elements of the crime, and if the evidence is questionable, or the defendant is likeable / sympathetic / etc... then it makes it more likely that the prosecution will want to work out a deal or drop the case altogether.

Customer:

ok I never thought of thaty he has been doing this 10 years , you never know !would he be arrested at a adult jail and kept there or to where they take children

Customer:

Thank you for helping me I can not sleep I am so upset over this Thank you again

ScottyMacEsq :

That's hard to say. IF arrested, he probably would be taken to an adult jail, but it's possible that since he's 17, it would be juvenile. That's another aspect of this case, in that the juvenile department of the DA's office would also have to get involved.

ScottyMacEsq :

And even then, he would only go to "jail" for at most an hour or so. With an attorney, you can secure a bond before hand.

ScottyMacEsq :

He wouldn't go to "prison" if he was convicted.

ScottyMacEsq :

Texas is not going to send a first time offender in this situation to prison.

ScottyMacEsq :

Rather, he would be on probation after conviction (if it gets to that point)

Customer:

yes that is what our lawyer said too he would do a walk thru he called it yes we will try all the above that is his plan to get it threw out before it gets to that point

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 11491
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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