Author: Leon A. Geller
How Filing a False Police Report Can Change Your Life
Police report is part of our civil rights. Any citizen is capable of filing a police report. When an officer receives a police report, he or she is responsible for taking the statement from the individual who made the report and investigating the claim on a deeper level. Of course, there are situations when an individual files a false report with the police.
Not only is unnerving if you’ve been falsely accused for committing a crime by someone who filed a false police report against you, there are also negative consequences associated with filing a false police report from the officer’s perspective.
In fact, one of these charges may be obstruction of justice and this is a serious matter that can influence your future in big ways.
What You Need to Know About Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice is a crime that includes any crime that involves interfering with due process of the law such as the investigations procedures of the police officers.
Some of the most common examples of obstruction of justice include:
Attempting to influence a witness
Destroying documents that are needed by the police
Lying to the police during questioning
Assaulting or committing a violent act towards a police officer
If you are charged with obstruction of justice, this may be classified as a federal or as a state crime. And worse, if you are convicted of this crime, then you could be facing harsh penalties—and maybe even a prison sentence.
Who Bears the Burden of Proof in a False Police Report Case?
If someone filed a false police report against you, or you filed one against someone else, then you will likely face criminal charges. However, the prosecutor must have to prove that you filed a fake report.
He or she must be able to prove the following before criminal charges are filed:
1. Acquire a copy of the false police report, and prove that it was false with other evidence or facts.
2. The individual intently and purposely filed a false police report. (This does NOT include filing a police report based on information you perceived to be true; that is an entirely different situation and one that requires further investigation.)
3. The individual had the sole intention of deceiving, obstructing, or hindering police efforts—such as other criminal pursuits.
The key here is the state prosecutor MUST be able to prove that you filed a false report with sufficient evidence, otherwise they likely won’t have a case against you that will hold up in court.
Regardless of the situation, if someone has filed a false report against you or if you face criminal charges for a crime you never committed, it’s always best to speak with a lawyer.
Is Faking a Police Report Considered a Felony or Misdemeanor?
In the event that you are charged with a felony and you are ultimately convicted, it goes without saying how much your life will change in big ways. You could potentially even spend time in prison if you are convicted of felony obstruction of justice, which could be considered a federal crime, as we mentioned above.
There are also potential civil penalties associated with the filing of a false police report particularly if that report leads to any losses or damages to individuals that you have falsely accused of a crime in the report.
What is My Defense?
If you filed a false police report with information you thought was true, then you can work with a criminal defense attorney to prove this was a fact. In addition, if someone filed a false report against you, then you will need to prove that a certain event or crime did not take place or that you were not involved.
Other conditions may also take away from the intentions that the prosecution may be trying to attach to your case such as situations where you are intoxicated or impacted by serious mental illness.
Don’t Take a Chance without Calling a Criminal Defense Firm
As you can see, there are many potential ramifications associated with a charge of filing a false police report as well as a conviction of the same. This is a serious matter that could have big implications for the remainder of your life. Understanding the nature of such an allegation is critical for you being able to fight back.
You need a criminal defense law firm that has handled situations like this before in order to protect your rights going forward.