Providing False Information to a Police Officer (California Vehicle Code 31)

Providing false information to a peace officer in CA.
Providing false information to a police officer is a serious crime in California.

You may think that providing incomplete or less than truthful information to a police officer does not have any repercussions, however, there are severe consequences to such actions. There are several California statutes that prohibit giving false information to law enforcement and the punishment ranges depending on the facts of your case. Providing false information may include:

  • Filing a false report of a crime
  • Falsely identifying yourself
  • Giving false information to a police officer

Generally, providing false information to an officer will likely result in a misdemeanor charge however, certain circumstances related to giving such information can contribute to more serious charges.

Filing a False Report of a Crime (PC 148.5)

Under PC 148.5, it is a crime to knowingly make a false report that a misdemeanor or a felony has been committed to someone who is employed to take crime reports. Those who are employed to take crime reports include the attorney general, district attorneys, a peace officer, a citizen who is employed by a state or local agency that accepts crime reports, and the grand jury.

Examples of filing a false report include:

  • Reporting a crime has occurred even when one has not
  • Providing false details about a criminal incident
  • Falsely reporting a theft or damage to property
  • Stating an incorrect value of property that was stolen or damaged

Prosecution

In order to convict you for a violation of PC 148.5, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following :

  • You made a report concerning a crime that is false;
  • You knew the report was false; and
  • You knew the person you made the report to was acting in his professional capacity to accept such reports.

Punishment for Filing a False Report of a Crime

This offense is a misdemeanor and may result in up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. You could be charged with a felony if you committed this offense in addition to perjury or fraud.

Falsely Identifying Yourself (PC 148.9)

Under PC 148.9, it is a crime to provide a false name or false identifying information to a peace officer when you are lawfully detained or arrested .

Prosecution

You may not provide false information to a police officer if you are lawfully detained.
If you are lawfully arrested, you must provide accurate identification to a peace officer.

In order to convict you for a violation of PC 148.9, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:

  • You falsely represented or identified yourself as someone else or a fictitious name to a peace officer;
  • The peace officer was engaged in the performance of his duties as a peace officer; and
  • You knew or should have known the person receiving the information is a peace officer.

Punishment for Falsely Identifying Yourself

Falsely identifying yourself to a peace officer is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this crime, you could be sentenced to up to six months in county jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both a fine and imprisonment.

Giving False Information to a Police Officer (CVC 31)

Under CVC 31, it is a crime to knowingly give false information to a peace officer while the officer is performing his duties. You can violate VC 31 by providing a wrong answer, identifying yourself as someone else or fictitious, providing false vehicle registration, providing false insurance information or providing a fake or borrowed driver license to a peace officer during a vehicle stop .

Prosecution

In order to convict you for a violation of VC 31, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:

  • You gave false information to a peace officer while in the performance of the officer’s duties;
  • You knew the information was false; and
  • You knew or should have known the person receiving the information is a peace officer.

Punishment for Giving False Information

Giving false information to a peace officer is a misdemeanor and could result in up to six months in county jail and a fine up to $1,000. You could face additional charges if you were also evading arrest.

Possible Defenses to a False Information to a Police Charger Charge

A misdemeanor conviction can significantly affect your future. An experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights by raising any and all defenses you may have in order to successfully reduce and possibly defeat all charges.

Defenses to Filing a False Report of a Crime

There are several defenses that your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can raise if you are accused of filing a false report of a crime.

Truth

One of the elements a prosecutor must prove is that your report to law enforcement was false. If the information is true, then there is no way for the prosecutor to prove this element. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to find and bring evidence concerning the truthfulness of the information you provided to successfully defeat the accusation.

Good Faith Belief that the Information is True

Another element that a prosecutor must prove is that you knew the information was false.If you are accused of providing false information to a police officer, call the law offices of Wallin & Klarich today. If you had good faith or belief that the information you provided is true, then a prosecutor cannot prove this element.

An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to raise the defense and show that you believed the information you provided was true.

Good Faith Belief That You Were Not Talking to Someone Who Acted in His Professional Capacity to Accept Such Reports

Another element that a prosecutor must prove is that you knew the person you made the report to was acting in his professional capacity to accept such reports. If you had good faith that you were not talking to such a person, a prosecutor cannot prove this element.

Exception to Filing a False Report of a Crime

PC 148.5 does not apply to reports made by anyone who is required by law to report known or suspected instances of child abuse, adult abuse, or elder abuse. So, if you falsely reported a crime of child abuse, adult abuse, or elder abuse and you are required by law to report suspected abuse under PC 11166, your experienced criminal defense attorney can raise this defense.

Defenses to Falsely Identifying Yourself

There are several defenses that your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can raise if you are accused of falsely identifying yourself.

Truth

One of the elements a prosecutor must prove is if you provided false information. If the information is true, then there is no way for the prosecutor can prove this element. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to find and bring evidence concerning the truthfulness of the information you provided to successfully defeat the accusation.

The Peace Officer was Not Acting Within the Scope of His Duties

In order to be convicted of providing false information to police officer, the prosecutor must show that the peace officer was acting within his duties while you provided the false information. If an officer unlawfully arrested or detained you, or used unreasonable or excessive force, your experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to show that the officer was not acting within the scope of his duties when you provided false information.

Good Faith Belief that the You Were Not Talking to a Peace Officer

Another element that a prosecutor must prove is that you knew or should have known you were providing information to a peace officer. If you had a good faith belief that you were not talking to a peace officer, then a prosecutor cannot prove this element. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to raise this defense to show that you did not know you were talking to a peace officer or you believed that you were not talking to a peace officer.

Defenses to Giving False Information During a Vehicle Stop

There are several defenses that your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can raise if you are accused of giving false information to a police officer.

Truth

One of the elements a prosecutor must prove is that you gave false information. If the information is true, then there is no way for the prosecutor can prove this element.

Good Faith Belief that the Information is True

Call Wallin & Klarich today.
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Another element that a prosecutor must prove is that you knew the information was false. If you had a good faith belief that the information you provided was true, a prosecutor cannot prove this element.

An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to raise the defense to show that you believed the information you provided was true by finding and providing evidence of that fact.

FAQs

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from other clients facing charges of providing false information to a peace officer.

1. What is the definition of a “peace officer”?

A peace officer is someone who is engaged in the duty of law enforcement. A peace officer can include: a police officer, a sheriff, a marshal, a deputy marshal, a California Highway Patrol office, or any inspector or investigator employed in the district attorney’s office.

2. How can I be charged for a felony of any of the above offenses?

If you provided a forged document, such as a driver license or insurance information, you may face charges under California’s False Evidence Law (PC 132), which is a felony.

Wallin & Klarich Can Help You Fight Charges of Providing False Information to Police

If you or someone you know has been charged with providing false information to a police officer, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. You could be prosecuted for a misdemeanor or a felony, which could lead to jail time, heavy fines, loss of your professional license and loss of your right to possess a firearm.

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing criminal charges. Hiring an attorney from Wallin & Klarich may be your best chance to avoid the serious consequences of a conviction for providing false information.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the very best legal representation. We are dedicated to giving you the personal attention you expect to help you through this difficult time. We are here to help you get the best result possible in your case.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

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