False Crime Reports
Recently, videos posted to social media have shown individuals intentionally calling 911 in order to make false police reports. For example, a person calls the police and says another individual is threatening to hurt or kill them, but the person making the call knows that the scenario is completely fabricated. Making false reports is a serious criminal offense in California. The law safeguards against potential miscarriages of justice, discrimination, and other harmful actions. Therefore, when making a police report, ensure that you are telling the truth and not providing a statement you know to be inaccurate.
The Elements of the Crime
According to California Penal Code Section 148.5, an individual can face charges for making a false report. It is important to note that this crime is different from making a well-intentioned report of a crime that does not result in charges. More specifically, the person making the report has to know the report is a false one. If a person has been accused of making a false crime report, the prosecution must prove several elements in order for the defendant to be found guilty. The defendant must have made a report to a police officer, district attorney, or jury that the defendant knew was false and related to a misdemeanor or felony charge. The crime can occur as a result of a 911 call or during an open investigation.
Penalties for the Crime
If the prosecution proves the aforementioned elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant faces a misdemeanor. A conviction can result in jail time and the payment of fines. Given the serious nature of the crime, it is vital that those arrested and/or charged with this crime immediately seek the counsel of an experienced criminal attorney. Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns regarding crime reports.