You can go to jail for falsely telling law enforcement that your significant other beat you up. In California, it is a crime under Penal Code Section 148.5 to falsely accuse any person of a misdemeanor or a felony. The best thing to do is not lie to police. However, you run the risk of being accused of lying when you report a crime. If you are facing allegations of a false report of a criminal offense, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you prove that you are not lying or you did not knowingly lie to law enforcement.
Elements of a False Report of a Criminal Offense
The elements of a false report of a criminal offense are relatively easy for the prosecution to prove in most cases. The District Attorney must only show the following:
- You made a false statement to a police officer;
- You knew that the statement was false at the time you made the statement;
- Your knowingly false statement included an accusation that another person committed a felony or misdemeanor crime.
This means that if you are upset with your spouse or significant other (or any other person) and you call 911 or report to a police officer that the person had committed a felony or misdemeanor, you can and likely will be prosecuted.
Punishment for False Report of a Criminal Offense
If you are convicted for false report of a criminal offense, you would be facing a misdemeanor charge under California Penal Code Section 148.5. A conviction can subject you to:
- Being arrested;
- Serving time in county jail;
- Being placed on probation;
- Having to pay a substantial fine;
- Making restitution to the person who you falsely accused if he/she suffered damages due to being arrested. This could include paying for time missed from work, legal fees and bail bonds fee.
The next time you get angry at someone, we strongly suggest you do not reach for the phone and call 911. If you intend to “get back” at someone you are angry with by accusing that person of a crime, you could be the one that ends up in jail.
How Wallin & Klarich Can Help
If you are accused of making a false report of a criminal offense or another individual has falsely accused you of a crime, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Southern California criminal defense attorney. The skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you prove you did not know the statement you provided to the police was false at the time you made the report.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons accused of a crime, including making false reports of a criminal offense. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.