Jacksonville Criminal Attorney | Lying to a Police Officer
Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense for a person to knowingly give false
information to a police officer concerning the commission of a crime. Giving False
Information to Police in Florida is commonly referred as “Lying to Police.” If you
have been accused in Florida of giving false information to a police officer, contact
our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney for a free consultation.
In Florida, Giving False Information to Police is considered a “crime of dishonesty”
and is vigorously prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville. There
are many viable defenses to this type of charge, and the assistance of a Jacksonville
Criminal Attorney is critical to avoiding a conviction or mitigating the potential
penalties you may face.
What is “Giving False Information to Law Enforcement” Under Florida Law?
Under Section 837.05(1), Florida Statutes, it is a criminal offense for a person
to knowingly give to a law enforcement/police officer false information regarding
the commission of a crime. This offense is commonly confused with “False Report of
a Crime,” which applies where the alleged crime reported did not actually occur.
In a prosecution for Giving False Information Concerning the Commission of a Crime,
a crime actuallyoccurs, but the accused knowingly gives false information concerning
How is Giving False Information to Police Proven in Florida?
To prove the offense of Giving False Information Concerning the Commission of a Crime
(“Lying to Police”), the prosecution must establish the following five elements beyond
a reasonable doubt:
1. The accused knowingly gave information about the alleged commission of a crime;
2. The accused knew the information was false;
3. The accused gave the false information to a person;
4. The person to whom the information was given was a law enforcement officer;
5. The accused knew that the person was a law enforcement officer.
Under Florida law, Giving False Information to Police, or “Lying to Police,” is a
first degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 365 days in jail. However, if the
false information concerns the commission of a capital felony, the offense may be
classified as a third degree felony, with penalties that may include up to 5 years
Are There Defenses in Florida to a Charge of Giving False Information?
There are many defenses available to contest a charge of Giving False Information
Concerning a Crime, or “Lying” to police or law enforcement. First and foremost,
the prosecution must prove that the information was in fact “false.” This is often
difficult to do where the facts are not clearly established with regard to the underlying
incident. For example, if the charge is based on accused’s rendition of an event,
such as a fight, genuine questions may exist as to what actually happened. If this
is the case, proving falsity beyond a reasonable doubt will be difficult, if not
impossible for the prosecutor.
Moreover, the prosecution must establish the accused’s knowledge of the falsity of
the information. This can sometimes be difficult if the accused gave information
that he or she thought was the truth or thought was reliable. If the accused can
demonstrate a basis for his or her beliefs, then knowledge of falsity will be difficult
to prove. Even if the accused was careless or reckless in making a statement or assertion,
this does not amount to “knowledge” of the falsity of the information.
These are just a few of the defenses that may be raised in these types of cases.
If you have been accused of giving false information to law enforcement concerning
the commission of a crime, or “lying” to police, contact Hussein & Webber, PL to
discuss your legal options. All consultations with our Jacksonville Criminal Attorney
are free and confidential.