1. #1
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    Question Charged for Lying to an Officer?

    On a few occasions, on tv, I have heard officers say something like “I’m a police officer, if you lie to me I can charge you with x or y.” People lie to police officers very often, why is it that I have never seen someone actually get charged with lying to a police officer?

    I’m not talking about someone lying while giving an official statement or perjury. I’m referring to situations where a police officer is called to investigate something starts talking to a suspect and finds out one of them has lied to him or her. The suspect may even admit that they have lied. They never get charged for the lie, they do get charged for other things like possession of drugs etc.

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    Sometimes, the TV shows do not depict reality....
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    Fair enough, so what's reality when it comes to this topic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJamaican View Post
    Fair enough, so what's reality when it comes to this topic?
    The reality is...it depends. In my state if you lie to deflect the investigation from yourself, or to implicate someone that you know did not do the crime...well you can (and likely will) be arrested for providing false information.
    "My give a damn's busted"

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    reality is that it depends on the context of the lie.
    For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

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    In the fed system making a false statement is a violation of title 18 USC, section 1001.

    Martha Stewart went to jail for it.

    It’s up to the prosecutor not the police, what charge gets laid on an individual.

    Making a material false statement to a LEO is a crime.
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    It depends on a number of things. In some cases they can be charged with obstruction of official business.

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    Falls under "false reports" statute in TN (TCA 39-16-502). It's a felony in our state. The most recent was a French national who's luggage was lost by an airline the other day and she implicated that she had explosives. It put those who heard her in reasonable fear for their safety. She went to jail for a Class C felony for making such a statement. It seems to me this statute was recently modified to target those who think it's cute to make statements regarding bombs.

    Lying to an officer to hinder an investigation is also covered under this statute.

    Those who attempt to be someone else to avoid prosecution get hit with a different charge (criminal impersonation).
    Last edited by SgtScott31; 09-05-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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    In Ga. there is a specific law addressing providing a false name, date of birth etc to an officer. I've made more than one arrest for this, though typically it's not the only charge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalSheriff View Post
    Sometimes, the TV shows do not depict reality....
    Say it ain't so!!!
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    It depends on the lie. If you come up to be and tell me your favorite color is blue when secretly you know its red, not a crime. If you lie in a matter that hampers and investigation, its a crime. Where I've normally charged people with this is lying about their identity, but it also comes up in disturbance runs and the like.

    The relevant part of IC code: "1) gives a false report of the commission of a crime or gives false information in the official investigation of the commission of a crime, knowing the report or information to be false;"

    Full text:
    IC 35-44-2-2
    False reporting or informing
    Sec. 2. (a) As used in this section, "consumer product" has the meaning set forth in IC 35-45-8-1.
    (b) As used in this section, "misconduct" means a violation of a departmental rule or procedure of a law enforcement agency.
    (c) A person who reports, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or other written or oral communication, that:
    (1) the person or another person has placed or intends to place an explosive, a destructive device, or other destructive substance in a building or transportation facility;
    (2) there has been or there will be tampering with a consumer product introduced into commerce; or
    (3) there has been or will be placed or introduced a weapon of mass destruction in a building or a place of assembly;
    knowing the report to be false commits false reporting, a Class D felony.
    (d) A person who:
    (1) gives a false report of the commission of a crime or gives false information in the official investigation of the commission of a crime, knowing the report or information to be false;
    (2) gives a false alarm of fire to the fire department of a governmental entity, knowing the alarm to be false;
    (3) makes a false request for ambulance service to an ambulance service provider, knowing the request to be false;


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (4) gives a false report concerning a missing child (as defined in IC 10-13-5-4) or missing endangered adult (as defined in IC 12-7-2-131.3) or gives false information in the official investigation of a missing child or missing endangered adult knowing the report or information to be false;
    (5) makes a complaint against a law enforcement officer to the state or municipality (as defined in IC 8-1-13-3) that employs the officer:
    (A) alleging the officer engaged in misconduct while performing the officer's duties; and
    (B) knowing the complaint to be false; or
    (6) makes a false report of a missing person, knowing the report or information is false;
    commits false informing, a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it substantially hinders any law enforcement process or if it results in harm to an innocent person.

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    Missouri has false information statues. Generally applied when someone lies about their name, DOB, ect.

    I saw one officer who charged it when someone denied having drugs in the car when in fact they did.... that officer got spanked really hard by the prosecutor.

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    If you lie to me about anything used to identify you I will charge you with: attempting to influence a public official. This is a Felony 4 here.

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    In CA, it depends on the nature of the lie. If someone provides "false information peace officer conducting a traffic offense" or provides a false name to an officer conducting any kind of criminal investigation, they can be charged with specific vehicle or penal code violations for either offense (misdemeanors). If the subject uses the identity of another living person to conceal his/her own identity (causing the third party to become liable for anything such as a citation), then the act can be charged as a felony under the CA Penal Code. While making any false police report, or calling "911" knowing there's no emergency can also be charged as misdemeanors, if someone lies to the police as a means of "aiding or abetting" the escape of a wanted felon, they can be charged with the felony offense of being an "accessory" after the fact.

    Most of the time people lie to the police to cover up their involvement in more serious activity. Once that's discovered, the lie(s) used to conceal their identity or involvement are usually treated as lesser included offenses to the more serious charge(s).
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  15. #15
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    Yup. Lie about the crime, Obstruction. Lie about who you are, hindering.
    Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

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    With some minor exceptions, puli's post mirrors the Alabama statute. Lying to an Officer under the circumstances described in puli's post constitutes a charge of Hindering Prosecution. It's a misdemeanor, but Judges/juries here take it pretty seriously.

  17. #17
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    Never say never. I have charged for it b4.

  18. #18
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    It's illegal in NC in some circumstances. I have charged many a person for lying to me.


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

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    There is no need to prove the underlying charges if you lie to the officer. You have committed a crime by doing so, one that may be easier to prove or even more serious than the original charge.

    Federally, I have arrested several people for 18USC1001 - including job applicants who falsified applications. One of them, after being placed under oath, "forgot" 2 other names and several years in prison. Well, he got to be a federal prisoner.

    The lie must be 'material', directly concealing pertinent facts relevant to the investigation. BTW, if you refused to give me your correct name, you got booked as "John/Jane Doe", and had no bail until you could prove to the court your real name. This usually took some doing! Some Judges did not accept drivers licenses, but required birth certificates, passports, etc.
    "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
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  20. #20
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    Virginia:
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-460

    § 18.2-460. Obstructing justice; penalty.

    A. If any person without just cause knowingly obstructs a judge, magistrate, justice, juror, attorney for the Commonwealth, witness, any law-enforcement officer, or animal control officer employed pursuant to § 3.2-6555 in the performance of his duties as such or fails or refuses without just cause to cease such obstruction when requested to do so by such judge, magistrate, justice, juror, attorney for the Commonwealth, witness, law-enforcement officer, or animal control officer employed pursuant to § 3.2-6555, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    B. Except as provided in subsection C, any person who, by threats or force, knowingly attempts to intimidate or impede a judge, magistrate, justice, juror, attorney for the Commonwealth, witness, any law-enforcement officer, or an animal control officer employed pursuant to § 3.2-6555 lawfully engaged in his duties as such, or to obstruct or impede the administration of justice in any court, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    C. If any person by threats of bodily harm or force knowingly attempts to intimidate or impede a judge, magistrate, justice, juror, attorney for the Commonwealth, witness, any law-enforcement officer, lawfully engaged in the discharge of his duty, or to obstruct or impede the administration of justice in any court relating to a violation of or conspiracy to violate § 18.2-248 or subdivision (a) (3), (b) or (c) of § 18.2-248.1, or § 18.2-46.2 or § 18.2-46.3, or relating to the violation of or conspiracy to violate any violent felony offense listed in subsection C of § 17.1-805, he shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.

    D. Any person who knowingly and willfully makes any materially false statement or representation to a law-enforcement officer or an animal control officer employed pursuant to § 3.2-6555 who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJamaican View Post
    On a few occasions, on tv, I have heard officers say something like “I’m a police officer, if you lie to me I can charge you with x or y.” People lie to police officers very often, why is it that I have never seen someone actually get charged with lying to a police officer?

    I’m not talking about someone lying while giving an official statement or perjury. I’m referring to situations where a police officer is called to investigate something starts talking to a suspect and finds out one of them has lied to him or her. The suspect may even admit that they have lied. They never get charged for the lie, they do get charged for other things like possession of drugs etc.
    I've charged people many times for this on the federal level. 18 USC 1001 - Lying to a federal agent about something material to the investigation.

    It's what trips a lot of people up. We can't get them on the actual offense, but we nail them for lying about it. That's why Martha Stewart went to prison. She beat the insider-trading charge, but was convicted of 1001.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vtfuzz View Post
    The reality is...it depends. In my state if you lie to deflect the investigation from yourself, or to implicate someone that you know did not do the crime...well you can (and likely will) be arrested for providing false information.
    Here too.

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