Police in Massachusetts cited the driver of a Maserati Gran Turismo for impersonating a police officer when he was found zooming around town in the exotic sports car painted black and white with police decals.
The Maserati Gran Turismo had been “dipped” (temporary plastic spray had been applied) to resemble a character from the Transformers movie. In the movie, Barricade transformed into a police car. The hot rod spared no expense making his own car look like the one from the movie, adding white doors and police-style decals.
The man was pulled over while driving the car earlier this month and summoned to appear on charges of impersonating a police officer.
Much like in Texas, cops in Massachusetts don’t take impersonating an officer lightly. In Mass., “falsely assuming to be a police officer” is the way they style the charge, and it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $400 fine.
Here in Texas it is a little different – and maybe the man would have a defense! The most serious offense is impersonation of a public servant, which is a 3rd degree felony. However, the state must prove that you meant to induce someone to submit to your show of authority. (Little danger here with the Maserati I would think). The likely charge here would be False Identification as a police officer, which is a class B misdemeanor. It is a defense to this charge if “the item was used or intended for use exclusively for decorative purposes or in an artistic or dramatic presentation.” Under this defense, I would say that any good lawyer, in Texas, could get the charges dismissed. Don’t know what will happen to him in Yankee-land.
The man’s lawyer says his client plans on removing the temporary decorations, although he isn’t planning to do so until after he drives to court for his first hearing on September 4th.
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Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande