Let’s Be Cops opens this week. The premise is simple: Our Heroes dress up as cops for a costume party. Their clean looks and winning personalities convince the neighborhood that these guys are the real deal. Intoxicated by being treated like real cops, they begin to one-up each other. Their hijinks include: buying a used Police Interceptor on eBay; responding to police calls they hear over the radio; and, presumably, arresting people. As expected, hilarity ensues.
What if you did this in real life?
In a word, “don’t.” If you need a more verbose explanation, read on:
In Pennsylvania, Impersonation of a Public Servant is a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree. This offense carries a maximum penalty of two years incarceration and a $5,000 fine. The standard range sentence for someone with no prior record is at least probation. Due to the nature of the offense, however, you’d be lucky to get a sentence at the top of the aggravated range, or three months. If you went as far as the actors in the movie seem to go, you would be charged with a raft of other offenses and could spend years in state prison.
Our Heroes also appear to commit acts of vandalism, false imprisonment, and theft. That’s just in the previews.
Impersonation of a law enforcement officer is a serious offense. This stuff plays well in Hollywood and on the screen, but in real life it will land you in jail. If you do something like this, you should call an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney immediately.