Most people will call the police when they see a crime committed or a crime has been committed against them. But what happens if you are mad at someone so you try to get revenge by falsely reporting he or she committed a crime? What happens if you inform the police of a crime that didn’t actually happen?
Being Prosecuted for a False Report
California Penal Code Section 148.5 states that any person who reports that a crime has been committed to any peace officer, attorney general, deputy attorney general, district attorney, or deputy district attorney and knows that report to be false is guilty of a misdemeanor.
You could be charged with this crime if you reported a crime by calling 9-1-1 to make a report or by making the report at a police station or to an officer in person.
To be convicted under PC 148.5, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the report to be false and that you reported it to one of the listed authorities. If you are convicted of this crime, you face up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Defenses to False Report of a Crime
One of the best defenses against an accusation of falsely reporting a crime is that you didn’t know your report was false. If you witnessed what appeared to be a crime being committed but you weren’t fully aware of all the facts, it is possible that your report was not really “false” as defined under this law.
Another possible defense is that you never actually filed a report. For instance, if you’re speaking to a police officer and you made a joke that the officer took seriously, that does not constitute filing a report.
It is not a valid defense that only parts of your report were true. For example, let’s say your car was broken into, so you tell police and you say that valuable items were also stolen from your car. If your car was actually broken into but there were no valuable items inside, you could be charged with this crime.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges as a result of falsely reporting a crime, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients against charges of filing a false report of a crime. Let us help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Ventura, Victorville, and West Covina you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.