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Lying to Police

Lying to the Police – Is it Illegal?

Let’s be honest—being stopped by the police is an intense situation. Regardless of what has happened, there is always an adrenaline rush caused by seeing those blue and red lights directed at you. As the police officer approaches you, it’s not uncommon for your heart to start racing, your breath to come out rapidly, and for you to forget every sense of normalcy.

When being questioned by the police, people tend to stutter, slip up, or say the wrong thing—even without meaning to. On the other hand, sometimes people avoid the question or don’t answer honestly out of the fear of not being “right.” In other instances, they may just blatantly lie to cover themselves or to cover someone they know. When people lie to the police it is typically for one of three reasons:

  1. The person is guilty of the accused crime and does not want to get arrested.
  2. The person is covering up for someone else and doesn’t want to be a “snitch.”
  3. The person is worried that the real suspect will retaliate if they found out they snitched.

Regardless of the intention, it is never a good idea to lie to the police. Although you do have the right to remain silent, and you have your First Amendment right to freedom of speech, lying to the authorities is a completely different story.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, FL

Dealing with a criminal charge can be stressful, and it’s best to go about it with experienced help. Finding the right attorney to stand up for your case is imperative. Don Pumphrey and the Pumphrey Law team have the skill and determination to help provide quality assistance with your case. Call (850) 681-7777 today for your free consultation.

Giving False Information to the Police

It is a criminal offense in the state of Florida to knowingly give false information to a police officer concerning information about a crime. Under Florida Statute 837.05, providing a false report to the authorities concerning the alleged commission of any crime is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

What exactly is the definition of giving false information? “Giving False Information,” or lying to the police, means that a crime did occur, but the person accused gave out false information regarding the incident. It can also mean that the person who didn’t commit the crime still provided false information to protect the real suspect who was at fault. This offense can be confused with the False Report of a Crime—which is when the reported crime did not actually occur, and the person reporting to the police was lying.

Required Proof for the Prosecution

In order for the prosecution to be able to prove the offense of providing false information, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The person accused of lying provided information knowingly about an alleged crime.
  • The person accused of lying was aware that the information they gave was false.
  • The person accused of lying provided information to a person.
  • The person who received the information was a police officer or law enforcement officer.
  • The person accused of lying was aware that the person they gave false information to was a police officer.

Penalties for Providing False Information to a Police Officer

Depending on the subject of the information provided to the police officer, along with any prior convictions by the alleged defendant, providing false information to a police officer can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

First Offense

If this was the defendant’s first crime, and the information provided was concerning a non-capital felony, then the crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for this crime is a $1,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail or 12 months of probation.

Second Offense

If this was the defendant’s second offense for providing false information to a police officer, it is classified as a third-degree felony. This is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation.

False Information Concerning a Capital Felony

If the defendant provided false information regarding a capital felony, then it is classified as a third-degree felony. This is also punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation.

Defenses to Providing False Information to a Police Officer

There are defenses an attorney can use to help you or a loved one fight against false information charges. The two main defenses that can be used are no provable knowledge or falsity, and information not provably false.

No Provable Knowledge of Falsity

It can be difficult to prove that the defendant had knowledge of the falsity of the information provided. For instance, if the defendant truly believed the information provided was the truth, then it makes the case more difficult to prove. This is even the case if the defendant provided a statement recklessly. It still does not equate to “knowledge” that the information was false.

Information Not Provably False

It must be proven that the information provided was in fact “false.” If the prosecution is unable to prove without a doubt that the information was incorrect, it can make conviction more difficult. This is especially difficult when the facts have not been clearly established regarding the incident. This is also true if the information provided was regarding an incident such as a fight or accident where the defendant may have not been entirely sure what the truth was.

Find A Tallahassee Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been charged with Providing False Information to a Police Officer, your first move should be to reach out to an experienced attorney. In order to receive the best possible advice, it is important to find a team who has the skills and is ready to fight in your corner. Joel Elsea is more than prepared to help with your ongoing case, and to provide you with the top-quality defense your case deserves. If you are in the Leon County or Tallahassee area, reach out to the Pumphrey Law Firm. Don’t let one nervous mistake affect your future. Call (850) 681-7777 today for your free consultation.

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