Filing A False Police Report – Penal Code Section 148.5
When it comes to the false report of a crime violation – this is also known as filing a false police report – these are serious allegations that if proven, you’ll have a criminal conviction on your record. You could be looking at time in custody and a host of other punishments and deterrent-related actions by the judge and the prosecutor. Obviously, we don’t want people filing false police reports. It messes with the integrity of criminal justice. The police, prosecutors and judges will put a hammer on people who do this sort of things.
There are a couple of different ways that this can come about, at least what I’ve seen. Well, there’s a few. Number one, you could do it where you go to the police and file a false police report. You know what you’re saying is false. That’s a potential defense in a case – if you don’t really know what you’re saying is false and you actually believe it to be true but it turns out to be false, you probably would have a defense to filing a false police report. So, that’s one way. You actually go and do it. You know it’s false. You say something to the police department – LAPD for example, and then you violate Penal Code Section 148.5.
Another way is if the police come to you and they ask you some questions about a case and you give them bad information or false information and somebody gets arrested from that, you’re going to probably be in trouble for filing a false police report. This can occur in other situations that the Penal Code Section calls for – like a grand jury is involved and you’re giving false information under other circumstances as well. But mainly where we see this filing a false police report in Los Angeles County come up is when people go to the police and say false things.
Another area that I’ve seen is when people are filing a false police report because they’re trying to cover up another crime. For example, let’s say that somebody commits insurance fraud and they have somebody go and steal their car so that they can get the money from the insurance company and then they call the police to report their car stolen and now the police do an investigation on the stolen vehicle and they figure out that the facts that were given were a lie and that the real reason the person did this was because they were trying to do some sort of an insurance scam.
I’ve seen this also where people set their own car on fire. There are all sorts of scenarios where this can come up. You’d be subject not only to filing a false police report pursuant to Penal Code Section 148.5, also for insurance fraud, and if you set your car on fire, for arson. So, a lot of times, filing the false reports – not even the main charge is in the criminal complaint. It’s just one of the charges that is in there. Sometime filing a false police report in LA is used as a throw-away charge to get rid of more serious charges. In other words, if you had committed insurance fraud and you were charged with arson for burning your car, you were charged with felony insurance fraud and you were also charged with filing a false police report as a misdemeanor, you’d much rather have the filing a false police report charge than any of those other charges, because those other charges are much more serious and difficult to get rid of, and much more likely to be punished with a severe punishment.
So, if you’ve got a filing a false police report case charged in LA county, give me a call. We’ll sit down and talk about the facts and circumstances that led to you going to the police, or led the police to you come to you, and we also talk about whether there’s any defenses that can be employed based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. If there is, we’ll get the evidence together, we’ll investigate it and then we’ll either just take the case straight to jury trial or we’ll go to the prosecutors and say, you’re going to probably lose this case because we’ve got some good evidence here that shows that these individuals here didn’t file a false police report and they should not be charged with this particular crime. In other to do that, we’re obviously going to have to have the evidence.
One defense is, I didn’t know that this was false information. How can I possibly know for sure, and again, whether that’s a valid statement or not depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. But bet your bottom dollar, if you reasonably should have known that the information that you provided to the police was false, then you’re going to get charged with this crime and you’re going to get convicted. You’re not going to be able to hide behind, well I didn’t know for sure. If you’re telling them something ridiculous that you should know was not true, you’re going to get charged with the crime if they can prove that a reasonable person wouldn’t have given this information unless they were trying to trick the police for some illegal purpose.
So, if you have one of these cases, give me a call. We’ll sit down and go over it. We’ll talk about what’s realistic and reasonable, and what we’re going to do to get you out of the criminal justice system and deal with this filing a false police report charge pursuant to Penal Code Section 148.5.
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