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  1. #1
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    Lying on an accident report

    If you take an accident report where one driver lies to you about what happened, and you can prove it, then would that driver face charges?

    Imagine a situation where you are called to a rear-end accident outside a gas station. The car in the rear states the car in front backed into them after beign stranded in the intersection, but the car in front denies this and states they were sitting at the light not moving. During your investigation the gas station produces CCTV that shows the front car DID back up.

    Would you shrug it off, better things to do, etc. Or do you have the option of pursuing charges for filing a false police report or unsworn falsification?

  2. #2
    Forum Member westside popo's Avatar
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    At a minimum cite them for everything you could find wrong with the vehicle. Heck do a safety inspection on the vehicle. If your state law & dept. allows it then yes I would go with the lying charge. Be sure to tell the judge and get a copy of the video as evidence.

    I'm usually an easy going person until some one lies to me.

  3. #3
    Forum Member SgtScott31's Avatar
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    There will probably be more witnesses than just the two drivers, but if it is something as you described, then "yes," I would probably arrest the one who made the false statement. If it is not immediately apparent who is at fault, no injuries are involved, and there was no reckless behavior, I normally do not cite. I do not call them motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), because 99.9% of the time someone is always at fault. From my understanding, it is becoming more common to call them MVCs (motor vehicle collisions). I normally let the insurance companies fight it out. You pay them enough out of our own pocket, let them work for you for a change.
    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

  4. #4
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    Here in AL we do not place fault. What I would do is put what both of their statements on the report such as :"Unit 1 stated that Unit 2 backed in to him at the intersection. Unit 2 stated that he was stationary at the intersection and Unit 1 stuck him in the rear."
    "Rollin and Patrollin the Wild Wild West of Bham"

  5. #5
    yes, it really is me... LeanG's Avatar
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    I won't waste my time with anything other than citing them for the accident. I've caught people in a lie before, but other than embarrassing the crap out of them in front of all parties present, I don't pursue it any further. That's not something I want to be subpoened for on my day off.

    A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

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  6. #6
    Retired Sergeant - CHP SgtCHP's Avatar
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    In all honesty I would probably not have known what happened without independant witnesses. Unless it is a major investigation I would not trouble the store operator to view their video. That is just plain unnecessary. Rearend collisions are a dime a dozen and short of major injury or fatality, they are likely investigated by having the drivers exchange names and information to provide to their insurance companies.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

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  7. #7
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    I would write the ticket for both careless driving and false reporting. It is only an extra check box on the ticket.

    I would not waste my time on an arrest, however, unless the person was an appearance risk.
    I have the heart of a child..................................No really, it is in a jar on my desk.

  8. #8
    Verbal Sniper Smurfette_76's Avatar
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    People lie? Damn. Next thing you know you'll tell me they run, too!


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

  9. #9
    An Obvious problem mdrdep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    People lie? Damn. Next thing you know you'll tell me they run, too!
    No it's just an urban legend.
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    "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."


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  10. #10
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    .......................................
    Last edited by GrayState; 01-25-2013 at 07:20 PM.

  11. #11
    Forum Member CruiserClass's Avatar
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    Depends. If they flat out lie, then they may get the False Reporting charge, an exaggeration of speed or the like won't.

    The only time I've locked someone up for lying to me at a crash is when they gave me someone else's driver's license info and had their boyfriend lie about their identity as well. She went for driving while suspended - prior conviction, false informing, and refusal to ID. He went for false informing and assisting a criminal.

  12. #12
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    I understand that people's memories of incidents can be skewed by the repeated retelling of a version of events that is increasingly self-serving...

    I'm thinking more about a flat-out lie, where there can be no doubt that the person knows they are lying, and that it can be proven.

    The reason I ask is that some of the local law enforcement agencies publish accident reports online and I've read some of them. It's surprising to see how many of them tell incompatible stories. Not just speed or light status, but things like direction of travel etc. A few "They backed up when they were stranded by a red light".

    One report of a rear-ender where the lead car was accused of changing lanes and braking suddenly in one action, but the lead car claimed to have been in that lane for several miles before the accident. One of those drivers must be lying - that's not an exaggeration or a self-serving rendition of what actually happened - one (or both) of them is making a statement they know to be absolutely false. So, if you have rock solid evidence proving which driver is lying then is it worth punishing them for it....

    Anyways... I understand the answers so far. Thanks!

    Heck, if it was me I'd let them file the false version as an insurance claim and get them for the accident, the unsworn falsification, the filing of a false police report AND insurance fraud... Hope it's a big insurance claim, make it a felony. But I'm not a cop.

  13. #13
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    Let's look at it this way. It's YOUR accident. The driver in front of you backs up.
    Do you want the investigating officer to just put driver 1 said driver two backed into him
    driver 2 said he was rear ended by driver 1. Your insurance carrier will not know what to do as there is no way to reconstruct this crash. Therefore your insurance carrier will most likely charge you with responsibility for this crash.
    Now if the officer puts on the narrative that cctv from the gas& go shows veh. backing into another vehicle, you are in the clear and your insurance rates will not go up. You do not have a chargeable accident on your record.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
    If you take an accident report where one driver lies to you about what happened, and you can prove it, then would that driver face charges?
    I would cite the at-fault driver for all applicable traffic violations and also charge him/her with a gross misdemeanor, making a false statement to a public officer (RCW 9A.76.175). And yes, I would make a physical arrest and they'd get booked into jail.
    "Screw that. We can make bullets faster than they can make terrorists. Kill them all. Every last one." -Interceptor

  15. #15
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    Whoa, time out. People lie to us???????

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    People lie? Damn. Next thing you know you'll tell me they run, too!
    It's not their fault for lying, the cows are developing mind control...

  17. #17
    Forum Member CruiserClass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch um and ba View Post
    It's not their fault for lying, the cows are developing mind control...
    That's a pretty lame excuse when you consider how easily affordable tin foil is for the average motorist, and how little skill it takes to manipulate that foil into protective headwear. If you don't care enough to take the time to fashion a proper tinfoil hat you deserve to have the cows in the driver's seat of your cranium.

  18. #18
    An Obvious problem mdrdep's Avatar
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    Yes but are there readily available training classes in the folding of tin foil hats. If not I think he has a lawsuit on his hands for failure to train.
    Today's Quote:


    "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."


    Ronald Reagan

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrdep View Post
    Yes but are there readily available training classes in the folding of tin foil hats. If not I think he has a lawsuit on his hands for failure to train.
    Or you could take the FEMA online tinfoil hat folding class, TF900-a...
    The opinions expressed here are from the individual only and do not represent the view of any agency that the poster may be affiliated with

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by westside popo View Post
    I'm usually an easy going person until some one lies to me.
    Exactly. If there is one thing that makes a situation worse, it's lying.

    Sometimes it's fun to call the lying party out right away, and others it's even better to play dumb and let them think that they're stringing you along until you finally have had enough and lay into them.

    The look on some of their faces

  21. #21
    Forum Member westside popo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idolized1 View Post
    Exactly. If there is one thing that makes a situation worse, it's lying.

    Sometimes it's fun to call the lying party out right away, and others it's even better to play dumb and let them think that they're stringing you along until you finally have had enough and lay into them.

    The look on some of their faces
    Yeah I had another one the other day. Not only was she driving on a suspended license, but she gave me her friend's driver's license. She got charged with tinted tag cover, driving while suspended and hindering by giving false information. I told her at the jail if she had been honest with me I would have told the judge and would not have objected to a lesser charge or fine if the judge wanted to reduce it. I don't believe the judge will be so enclinde now. It was humorous when I asked the friend for her license and she gave me a student ID with the same name on it.
    Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.
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  22. #22
    Flame Resistant valvestem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
    If you take an accident report where one driver lies to you about what happened, and you can prove it, then would that driver face charges?

    Imagine a situation where you are called to a rear-end accident outside a gas station. The car in the rear states the car in front backed into them after beign stranded in the intersection, but the car in front denies this and states they were sitting at the light not moving. During your investigation the gas station produces CCTV that shows the front car DID back up.

    Would you shrug it off, better things to do, etc. Or do you have the option of pursuing charges for filing a false police report or unsworn falsification?
    I'd make sure the accident report that the insurance company is going to see had the information on it, so they can lay the blame, and the increased insurance premium on the liar. End of case, it's easier to get the satisfaction from the thought that the liar is going to pay. Sometimes the only way to get at people like this is "through the wallet".
    21 Years, Retired, Pensioned

  23. #23
    NOT banned crass cop's Avatar
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    obstruct could apply, depending on the jurisdiction and their definition, filing a false police report could apply also.
    I would most likely embarrass them and call them out in front of everyone, cite the living hell out of them and then threaten arrest for one of the above crimes, towing their car, (if not needed from the accident), posting bond or going to jail. Let them know their is video and several witnesses, etc. If they still lie, then make good on the promises.

  24. #24
    NOT banned crass cop's Avatar
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    sorry.."their" should be "there"...pet peeve...I gotta correct it

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRESSHRD5COPIES View Post
    I would not waste my time on an arrest, however, unless the person was an appearance risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by SgtCHP View Post
    In all honesty I would probably not have known what happened without independant witnesses. Unless it is a major investigation I would not trouble the store operator to view their video. That is just plain unnecessary. Rearend collisions are a dime a dozen and short of major injury or fatality, they are likely investigated by having the drivers exchange names and information to provide to their insurance companies.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeanG View Post
    I won't waste my time with anything other than citing them for the accident. I've caught people in a lie before, but other than embarrassing the crap out of them in front of all parties present, I don't pursue it any further. That's not something I want to be subpoened for on my day off.
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
    Heck, if it was me I'd let them file the false version as an insurance claim and get them for the accident, the unsworn falsification, the filing of a false police report AND insurance fraud... Hope it's a big insurance claim, make it a felony. But I'm not a cop.

    The sad but true part is many cops don't look for the correct way. They look for the easy way. How can I go home on time? How can I not write another long report? How can I get out of this report? How can I talk them out wanting a report? etc etc

    I too was like JohnG and still probably would bother with hooking them up with false statement charge. It try and use the mother test. If it was my mother the offender backed into what would I do. But on that same token is sure does suck *** to work a 12hr night shift and then have to show up for court at 0900hrs with only about an hour or two hour nap. Then have to be back on the road for another 12hr night shift.

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