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Penal Code 148.5 PC – Making a False Report of a Crime in California

By Spodek Law Group | July 13, 2021
(Last Updated On: March 19, 2023)

Last Updated on: 19th March 2023, 01:34 am

False Reporting of Crimes in California: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are in California and you witness or experience a crime, you may feel the urge to report it to the authorities. However, if you file a false report of a crime, you may find yourself in hot water with the law. This offense is taken seriously in the state, and its legal provisions are clearly outlined in Penal Code 148.5. In this article, we provide you with everything you need to know about this law, including its penalties, defenses, and related offenses.

When is it a Criminal Act to Make a False Police Report in California?

To convict someone of a false report of a crime, the prosecution must prove that the accused intentionally filed a fraudulent report with a specific authority. This includes police officers, prosecutors, grand juries, or any state or local official appointed to receive citizen reports. The false report must be about a misdemeanor or felony.

If a person files a fraudulent report to the police or makes a false statement during an investigation, they could be found guilty under Penal Code 148.5. For example, if Bonita provides false information to the police during an investigation, she could be convicted of the offense even if she was not the first to report the crime.

What Criminal Defense Strategies are the Best Ones?

If you are accused of a false report of a crime, you have some legal defenses at your disposal. One of the best strategies is to show that you had a good faith belief that the report was factual. Additionally, if you made a false report to someone other than an authority or were wrongly accused, you may also have a defense.

The “Good Faith Belief that the Report is True” Defense: This defense applies if the accused believed that their report was true. Even if the accused was mistaken, it’s a defense if they had a good faith belief that it was accurate.

The “Report Not Made to Authorities” Defense: The law only applies if a false report is made to an authorized source such as a police officer. If the defendant can argue that they did not report to the authorities, it is a defense.

The “Falsely Accused” Defense: Unfortunately, many people are falsely accused of this crime. If you are wrongly blamed for filing a fraudulent report, you can argue that you were wrongly accused.

What are the 148.5 PC Penalties on Conviction?

If you are convicted of filing a false report of a crime, you could face a misdemeanor charge. The penalty for this offense includes up to six months in county jail or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Does This Offense Show Up on a Person’s Criminal Record?

If you are convicted of filing a false report of a crime, it will appear on your criminal record. However, it is possible to have your record expunged if you are successful in completing probation or jail term. An expungement will remove many of the consequences of a conviction, making it advantageous.

There are three crimes related to the false report of a crime law, including false report of an emergency (Penal Code 148.3), false report of a fire (Penal Code 148.4), and false identification to a police officer (Penal Code 148.9).

If you need more information about the false report of a crime law or want to speak to a criminal defense attorney, contact the Spodek Law Group today. We are here to help you with your legal needs.

False Reporting of a Crime in California: A Crime of Deception

When a person deliberately provides false information to law enforcement officials, it undermines the justice system and can have severe legal consequences. In California, Penal Code 148.5 PC makes it illegal to file a false police report of a crime, including even minor or criminal offenses.

Examples of False Reporting of a Crime in California

It could be as simple as lying to the police about a trespassing neighbor, or as grave as informing a district attorney’s investigator that an ex-girlfriend was a prostitute. Even denying an act of violence that actually occurred during a police investigation can be considered a false report of a crime.

False reporting is only illegal if the person making the report knows it to be untrue. If found guilty, they could face up to six months behind bars or a maximum fine of $1,000.

If you find yourself facing such charges, several criminal defense tactics can be used in court to combat them. One effective defense is showing that you had a good faith belief that the crime occurred. Similarly, if you did not disclose the offense to the “authorities,” or were unfairly accused, these could also be possible defenses.

Potential Penalties for a False Report of a Crime Conviction

Under California law, breaking this law is a misdemeanor and can result in severe penalties. Those found guilty could face up to six months in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. However, it is possible to receive misdemeanor probation in lieu of jail time.

How Spodek Law Group Can Help You

At Spodek Law Group, our seasoned California criminal defense attorneys are well-equipped to answer all your legal questions regarding false reporting of a crime. We will help you understand when it is a criminal act to make a false police report in California, what the best criminal defense strategies are, what the penalties are on conviction, whether this offense shows up on your criminal record, and what offenses are related to this statute. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you fight false reporting charges with our expertise and experience.

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