False Statements to Police Officers

False Statements to Officers of the Law

Often someone giving less than true or complete information to a police officer, or to another officer of the law, will not realize he or she is committing a crime that could have serious consequences. There are several sections in the California statute that punish giving false information to an officer of the law.

Giving false statements to an officer of the law is most often a misdemeanor charge, but can result in a more serious charge depending on the circumstances of the crime. Even a misdemeanor can have a serious effect on your future and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights to the full extent under the law. Depending upon the circumstances, a good Orange County false statement defense attorney may be able to mitigate or even defeat these misdemeanor charges and, if convicted, can secure a grant of informal probation, rather than jail time.

I am an experienced criminal defense attorney with proven results and I promise to vigorously defend your legal rights. I have successfully defended hundreds of cases, including cases where someone is charged with giving false information to an officer of the law. Contact me at any time to set up a confidential consultation with a false statement defense attorney in Orange County without charge. I will work with you and your family to provide a fee structure that best suits your circumstances.

Filing a False Report (Penal Code section 148.5)

It is illegal to knowingly make a false report of a crime (misdemeanor or felony) to a peace officer, to someone employed to accept crime reports, or to a prosecutor under Penal Code section 148.5. This crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor and requires only that the person making the false report knows the report is untrue and knows that the person to whom he or she is giving the report is engaged an official capacity to accept such reports (such as a police officer, a 911 operator, or a prosecutor). This section also makes it a misdemeanor to give a false report to a grand jury.

Examples of false reports that are illegal under this section include:

  • Reporting a crime has occurred when, in fact, one has not;
  • Giving false details about a criminal incident;
  • Reporting theft or damage that is untrue, and
  • Misstating the value of property which was stolen or damaged.

Common examples of this crime are falsely reporting a theft to collect on insurance or falsely alleging a domestic violence report in order to retaliate against a spouse.

The sentence for making such a report can be up to six months in county jail plus a $1,000 fine and/or probation. A person making a false report may be charged with other more serious charges, for example perjury or fraud, in addition to this misdemeanor charge. A false statement defense lawyer in Orange County can help you try to avert or minimize the consequences.

Falsely Representing or Identifying Yourself to a Peace Officer (Penal Code section 148.9)

When someone is lawfully detained, for example during a traffic stop or a criminal investigation, or when someone is lawfully arrested, he or she must truthfully tell the officer who he or she is. That means, the person detained or arrested must give his or her true name and other identifying information, such as date of birth and address, and present his or her authentic identification. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 148.9. The crime requires that the person making the false representation knows that the person to whom the false information is given is a peace officer engaged in his or her duties as a peace officer.

Violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine and/or probation. More serious charges can also apply, such as evading arrest.

Giving False Information to a Peace Officer (California Vehicle Code section 31)

This code section very simply states: "No person shall give, either orally or in writing, information to a peace officer while in the performance of his duties under the provisions of this code when such person knows that the information is false." Presenting an officer with a fake driver's license or vehicle registration are examples of this crime. Other examples of this crime would be giving an officer a false name or knowingly giving an officer false information in response to the officer's question.

This offense is also a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine and/or probation. Depending upon the circumstances, someone charged with this crime could also be charged with more a more serious crime such as evading arrest. An Orange County false statement defense lawyer can help you fight these charges.