It's no secret that the act of impersonating a police officer is illegal and for good reason. However, a tragic story from 2003 inspired Colorado lawmakers to make the punishment for impersonating an officer extra harsh.

Keep scrolling to learn exactly what the law is in Colorado, the punishment, and the tragic tale that inspired what is now known as Lacy's Law.

How Illegal is it to Impersonate an Officer in Colorado?

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Currently, the punishment for impersonating a police officer in Colorado is pretty harsh. As of the early 2000s, the crime was changed from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony which, if convicted, could carry a jail sentence of up to two years and fines of up to $100,000.

It's illegal to falsely pretend to be a peace officer and perform an act in that misleading capacity, and the punishment is even more severe if the culprit is a habitual offender.

In addition, It's currently a class 1 misdemeanor to own and use red and blue emergency lights if you are not affiliated with law enforcement.

However, these punishments weren't always so harsh, but a tragic incident in 2003 saw the creation and implementation of what's now known as Lacy's Law.

Why is the Punishment in Colorado so Severe?

Back in 2003, a man by the name of Jason Peder Clausen impersonated a police officer in order to kidnap, and eventually murder, a 20-year-old student at the University of Northern Colorado by the name of Lacy Miller.

Clausen eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

It's a sad tale, but Colorado lawmakers acted quickly following the tragedy with hopes to prevent another story like Lacy's from ever taking place again.

10 Places You Can Open Carry Legally In Colorado

As long as you are not in Denver, County, you can open carry a firearm in several places in Colorado. Local ordinances and signs must be observed and followed while in several communities, but some of Colorado's most beautiful places allow for open carry as is your right as an American citizen.

Illegal and Forbidden Weapons In Colorado

What weapons are considered "dangerous" and "illegal" in Colorado? Scroll on for a look at some of the illegal and forbidden weapons in the state of Colorado.

NEXT UP: Crazy Old Colorado Laws That Are Still Enforced Today

We all know that we need laws and law enforcement to keep our communities civilized. But it's amazing how many outdated laws are still on the books across our beautiful country.

After looking at OutThere Colorado and Uncover Colorado I put together a list of ridiculous laws that are still in effect here in the state that we call home.

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