If you wear a police uniform on Halloween, can you be arrested for impersonating a police officer?

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If you wear a police uniform on Halloween, can you be arrested for impersonating a police officer?

My brother-in-law has a very convincing police uniform he plans to where out and to some costume contests. It looks indistinguishable from the real thing and has the real MA State Police patches on the arms of the jacket. He has plastic gun that looks real enough in the holster and flashlight, handcuffs, etc. Is he in danger of getting arrested for impersonating an officer? He thinks not and says as long as he never claims to be or acts like police officer.

Asked on October 28, 2010 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, he will not be arrested for impersonating a police officer.  In order for that to happen he would have to have intent to impersonate an officer, even if his costume was absolutely perfect in every way.  His explanation is right on the mark: as long as he never claims to be or acts like a police officer he is fine.  I would, though, consider re-thinking the plastic gun, especially if it looks real.  I would be concerned that someone may think it was real, even on Halloween.  You do not want to make anyone trigger happy. Maybe a multi-colored cheap looking plastic one?  Better to be safe than sorry. Have fun. Good luck. 


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