Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense to make a false police report or make
a false report of a crime. A “False Report” crime in Florida is classified as a first
degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail. If you have been accused
in Jacksonville, FL of making a false police report or other false report of a crime,
contact our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney a free consultation.
False Report of a Crime (also known as “False Police Report”) is considered a crime
of dishonesty and is vigorously prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville,
FL. There are many viable defenses to this type of charge, and the assistance of
a Jacksonville False Report of a Crime Attorney is critical to avoiding a conviction
or mitigating the potential penalties you may face.
How is False Police Report / False Report of a Crime Defined Under Florida Law?
The criminal law in Florida pertaining to a charge of “False Police Report” or False
Report of a Crime is contained in Chapter 817 of the Florida Statutes. Under Section
817.49, Florida Statutes, it is a criminal offense for a person to willfully and
knowingly give false information or make a false report regarding the commission
of an alleged crime where the alleged crime did not actually occur. “False Police
Report” or “False Report of a Crime is distinguished from the offense of Giving False
Information Concerning the Commission of a Crime in that, under Section 817.49, no
crime actually takes place.
How Is False Report of a Crime / False Police Report Proven in Florida?
To prove the offense of False Police Report or False Report of a Crime, the prosecution
must establish the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The accused willfully gave or said (or caused to be given or said) false information
or a false report about the commission of an alleged crime in Florida;
2. The accused knew the information or report was false because no such crime had
actually been committed;
3. The information or report was given or said (or caused to given or said) to a
law enforcement officer;
4. The accused knew or should have known that the person to whom the information
or report was given was a law enforcement / police officer.
What are the Penalties for False Report of a Crime / Police Report in Florida?
Under Florida Statutes, Chapter 817, False Police Report or False Report of a Crime
is a first degree misdemeanor. As such, the offense carries penalties of up to 365
days in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000.00 fine.
Are There Defenses Available Under Florida Law?
There are many defenses available under Florida law to contest a charge of False
Report or False Report of a Crime. Often, law enforcement, in investigating an incident,
will jump to conclusions and take one person’s side over another. In their haste
to arrest someone, they may pursue charges against the person they chose not to believe.
Where there is contrary evidence supporting a person’s side of the story, this may
put into contention whether the report was in fact false.
Even if the report turns out to be false, the prosecution must establish that the
accused knew that the information contained in the report was false. Where the accused
was simply mistaken, given misinformation by someone else, or misconstrued the situation,
this will provide a powerful defense.
Moreover, even if the information is false, and even if the accused knew it was false,
the information or report must given or made to a law enforcement officer, not a
bystander or other person. Thus there often defenses where the accused did not know
the person was an police officer, or did not intend the information they gave to
reach the hands of officers.
These are just a few of the defenses that may be raised in these types of cases.
If you have been accused of making a false police report, or false report to law
enforcement regarding the commission of a crime, contact Hussein & Webber, PL to
discuss your legal options. All consultations with our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney
are free and confidential.