Woman, 34, Arrested After Posing as 15-Year-Old High-School Student - Legally Weird
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Woman, 34, Arrested After Posing as 15-Year-Old High-School Student

Most people in their mid-30s would be hard-pressed to pass as a high school senior.

But a 34-year-old Texas woman has been arrested after posing as a 15-year-old sophmore at a local high school since last October.

How did she pull it off, and what charge is she now facing?

'Attentive, Respectful, Did Her Homework'

Although jail records list her as 31, police in Longview, Texas, say Charity Johnson is 34. And they're still not sure why she enrolled at New Life Christian School in October as a sophomore.

Principal Stuart Newlin told The Associated Press that "Nobody seems to know why" Johnson began attending the school, but that "She acted like a 15, 16-year-old. She was an attentive student, respectful, did her homework," and that nobody at the school suspected that she wasn't a teen.

Johnson's ruse was revealed when a woman who was allowing Johnson to stay at her house became convinced that Johnson -- who was going by the name "Charite Stevens" -- was not who she said she was. The woman called police for assistance in removing Johnson from the home; according to The Longview News-Journal, when officers arrived, Johnson identified herself as Stevens and and gave her birth date as November 24, 1997.

When officers discovered her true identity, they arrested Johnson for providing false information.

Failure to Identify Is Against the Law in Texas

In Texas as in most states, providing a false name or date of birth to a police officer who is lawfully detaining or arresting you is a criminal offense -- in this case, a misdemeanor "failure to identify."

According to Texas law, a person commits the crime of failure to identify if they either refuse to provide their name, date of birth and address, or intentionally give a false name, address or date of birth to an officer. The law also applies to people who are witnesses to a criminal offense.

As a Class B misdemeanor, failure to identify by providing information is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail.

On the plus side, Johnson probably won't have to worry about studying for final exams.

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