Giving False Information to Law Enforcement

giving false information to a police office charges in florida

So you may have been nervous, acted out of spite, or were merely fed misinformation; no matter the specifics, you’re now facing criminal prosecution for Giving False Information to Law Enforcement. This may come as a surprise to you seeing as most don’t see lying as a crime. But when you do that to an officer of the law it is. The reason is that information will likely guide the officer’s actions, which could lead to the unjust prosecution of a third party but also wastes law enforcement resources. If you find yourself facing these charges, proactively seek experienced legal counsel.

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are knowledgeable attorneys who regularly protect the rights of the accused. Many people underestimate the gravity of a criminal charge of Giving False Information to the police since it’s a simple misdemeanor. However, depending on the nature of your lie, you could easily face felony charges which carry heavy criminal penalties. Ensure that a mere misunderstanding doesn’t land you behind bars by speaking with our team today.

What Exactly is “False information?”

Florida Statute § 837.05 defines the crime of Giving False Information to Law Enforcement: 

“a person who knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime..”

This crime is not to be mistaken for False Report of a Crime as that offense relates only to instances when someone reports a crime that never occurred. Giving False Information, conversely, deals with instances when there is a crime and an individual knowingly lies to law enforcement regarding the incident.

The burden of proof is on the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the alleged crime. In doing so, they’’ need to show the following:

  • You knowingly gave information about the commission of an alleged crime;
  • You knew the information was false;
  • You gave false information to another person;
  • That person was a law enforcement officer;
  • You knew that the person was a law enforcement officer

If they are unable to prove all 5 of these elements, your name can be cleared of all charges. However, if they are successful in their efforts, you can face criminal penalties linked with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement.

Florida Penalties for Giving False Information to a LEO

Giving False Information to Law Enforcement can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The dictating factors will be whether you’re a repeat offender and the type of case for which you provided false information.

First Offense

A first-time offender who gives false information to law enforcement, when the information doesn’t concern a capital felony, is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail; or
  • Up to 12 months probation; and
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Second Offense

A second-time offender who gives false information to law enforcement, when the information is not concerning a capital felony, is guilty of a third-degree felony which is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; or
  • Up to 5 years of probation; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

Capital Felony

An individual who gives false information concerning a capital felony is guilty of a third-degree felony which is punishable by: 

  • Up to 5 years in prison; or
  • Up to 5 years of probation; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

Legal Help Defending Against Criminal Charges

In pursuit of a conviction, the prosecution must prove many elements but most importantly that you:

1) provided information that was indeed false, and 

2) you had knowledge that the information you were providing was false. 

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm will go to great measures to disprove these key factors. The accused is oftentimes provided false information while other times the person can genuinely believe what they said to be true.

Our team of Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyers bring to the table more than 100 years of combined experience and have served as state and local prosecutors. We’re here to fight for you. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.