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California Penal Code Section 538d

538d. (a) Any person other than one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, who willfully wears, exhibits, or uses the authorized uniform, insignia, emblem, device, label, certificate, card, or writing, of a peace officer, with the intent of fraudulently impersonating a peace officer, or of fraudulently inducing the belief that he or she is a peace officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) (1) Any person, other than the one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, who willfully wears, exhibits, or uses the badge of a peace officer with the intent of fraudulently impersonating a peace officer, or of fraudulently inducing the belief that he or she is a peace officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(2) Any person who willfully wears or uses any badge that falsely purports to be authorized for the use of one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, or which so resembles the authorized badge of a peace officer as would deceive any ordinary reasonable person into believing that it is authorized for the use of one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, for the purpose of fraudulently impersonating a peace officer, or of fraudulently inducing the belief that he or she is a peace officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(c) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (d), any person who willfully wears, exhibits, or uses, or who willfully makes, sells, loans, gives, or transfers to another, any badge, insignia, emblem, device, or any label, certificate, card, or writing, which falsely purports to be authorized for the use of one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, or which so resembles the authorized badge, insignia, emblem, device, label, certificate, card, or writing of a peace officer as would deceive an ordinary reasonable person into believing that it is authorized for the use of one who by law is given the authority of a peace officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, except that any person who makes or sells any badge under the circumstances described in this subdivision is subject to a fine not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

(2) A local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction that files charges against a person for a violation of paragraph (1) shall seize the badge, insignia, emblem, device, label, certificate, card, or writing described in paragraph (1).

(d) (1) The head of an agency that employs peace officers, as defined in Sections 830.1 and 830.2, is authorized to issue identification in the form of a badge, insignia, emblem, device, label, certificate, card, or writing that clearly states that the person has honorably retired following service as a peace officer from that agency. The identification authorized pursuant to this subdivision is separate and distinct from the identification authorized by Article 2 (commencing with Section 25450) of Chapter 2 of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6.

(2) If the head of an agency issues a badge to an honorably retired peace officer that is not affixed to a plaque or other memento commemorating the retiree s service for the agency, the words Honorably Retired shall be clearly visible above, underneath, or on the badge itself.

(3) The head of an agency that employs peace officers as defined in Sections 830.1 and 830.2 is authorized to revoke identification granted pursuant to this subdivision in the event of misuse or abuse.

(4) For the purposes of this subdivision, the term honorably retired does not include an officer who has agreed to a service retirement in lieu of termination.

(e) (1) Vendors of law enforcement uniforms shall verify that a person purchasing a uniform identifying a law enforcement agency is an employee of the agency identified on the uniform. Presentation and examination of a valid identification card with a picture of the person purchasing the uniform and identification, on the letterhead of the law enforcement agency, of the person buying the uniform as an employee of the agency identified on the uniform shall be sufficient verification.

(2) Any uniform vendor who sells a uniform identifying a law enforcement agency, without verifying that the purchaser is an employee of the agency, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(3) This subdivision shall not apply if the uniform is to be used solely as a prop for a motion picture, television, video production, or a theatrical event, and prior written permission has been obtained from the identified law enforcement agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 514, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2015.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016