Think First: Is a Crime To File A False Police Report For You or The Officer Knowing Is False

Photo credit to: Wikipedia

Yes, It can happen! Here in Los Angeles, San Francisco or anywhere in the USA where they have Police departments. People will go to the stations instead of taking of working out the matter with the other party, they go and lie to the officer and then the officer forward the report to the detective. So be aware of it because it can happen. For the reason, we are sharing this valuable information for you to know your rights and don’t let anyone prosecute you in error or unfairly.

FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT

We advise anyone who files a police report to consider the following information:

IT IS A CRIME TO FILE A FALSE POLICE REPORT, This includes:

  • MAKING A FALSE REPORT OF A CRIME – No crime occurred.

  • USING A FALSE NAME OR IDENTITY.

  • PROVIDING FALSE DETAILS OR INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT.

  • MAKING A FALSE REPORT OF THEFT OR DAMAGE.

  • KNOWINGLY MIS-STATING TRUE VALUE OF ITEMS STOLEN OR DAMAGED.

Penalties include jail and fines for each separate count of a false report.

USING A FALSE NAME OR USING SOMEONE ELSE’S IDENTITY:   Knowingly giving a false name to police or using the identity of someone else on any police report, other official or financial report is a crime, a Felony under Penal Code Section  529 PC – Click here to read the section.

FALSE REPORTS FOR INSURANCE CLAIMS:   If the police report is made or required for filing an insurance claim, knowingly providing false information, including a false report of a theft or loss, false report of damage or false value of insured property, it is considered insurance fraud. The false report will be prosecuted as Felony insurance fraud under Penal Code Section 550 – Click here to read the sections.

All reports received and processed using online reporting forms are read, screened and verified by a police officer to confirm information and reduce fraud. San Francisco Police Department prosecutes all false police reports, insurance fraud and cases of false or assumed identity. Using the Online Report system to file “hoax” or “joke” reports, is also a false report. We will file cases against offenders and our local District Attorney’s office does prosecute these offenses.

Please read the following excerpt from the 2000 Edition of the California Penal Code. Use this link to read this and other Penal Code sections relating to offenses against public justice:

Penal Code Section 148.5 – Falsely report crime.

148.5. (a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, district attorney, or deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.

(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b), every person who reports to any employee who is assigned to accept reports from citizens, either directly or by telephone, and who is employed by a state or local agency which is designated in Section 830.1, 830.2, subdivision (e) of Section 830.3, Section 830.31, 830.32, 830.33, 830.34, 830.35, 830.36, 830.37, or 830.4, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as an agency employee and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is an agency employee engaged in the performance of the duties described in this subdivision.

(d) Every person who makes a report to a grand jury that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This subdivision shall not be construed as prohibiting or precluding a charge of perjury or contempt for any report made under oath in an investigation or proceeding before agrand jury.

(e) This section does not apply to reports made by persons who are required by statute to report known or suspected instances of child abuse, dependent adult abuse, or elder abuse.

PENAL CODE – PEN

PART 1. OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS [25 – 680]

  ( Part 1 enacted 1872. )

  

TITLE 7. OF CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC JUSTICE [92 – 186.34]

  ( Title 7 enacted 1872. )

CHAPTER 7. Other Offenses Against Public Justice [142 – 181]

  ( Chapter 7 enacted 1872. )

148.5.  

(a) Every person who reports to any peace officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, the Attorney General, or a deputy attorney general, or a district attorney, or a deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.

(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b), every person who reports to any employee who is assigned to accept reports from citizens, either directly or by telephone, and who is employed by a state or local agency which is designated in Section 830.1, 830.2, subdivision (e) of Section 830.3, Section 830.31, 830.32, 830.33, 830.34, 830.35, 830.36, 830.37, or 830.4, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as an agency employee and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is an agency employee engaged in the performance of the duties described in this subdivision.

(d) Every person who makes a report to a grand jury that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This subdivision shall not be construed as prohibiting or precluding a charge of perjury or contempt for any report made under oath in an investigation or proceeding before a grand jury.

(e) This section does not apply to reports made by persons who are required by statute to report known or suspected instances of child abuse, dependent adult abuse, or elder abuse.

(f) This section applies to a person who reports to a person described in subdivision (a), (b), or (c), that a firearm, as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 16520, has been lost or stolen, knowing the report to be false.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 47, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2017.)

California Penal Code Section 118.1 PC: Police Officers Filing False Reports

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Under California Penal Code Section 118.1 PC, it is a crime for a police officer to deliberately put false information into a report on a criminal matter. For this offense, it does not matter if the report was signed under penalty of perjury, merely writing the false information in a police report is enough to violate Penal Code 118.1 PC. If an officer did sign the report under penalty of perjury, they could potentially face prosecution for Perjury under California Penal Code Section 118 PC as well.

Filing a False Report by a Police Officer requires the following elements:

  1. The defendant is a law enforcement officer and while acting in an official capacity

  2. Wrote a report in a criminal matter

  3. That report contained false information regarding a material matter AND

  4. The officer knew the information was false when he or she entered it into his or her report.

Information is “material” if it would be considered significant or important in relation to the facts presented. Trivial or inconsequential facts would not be considered material.

The report must be in connection with a criminal matter. Therefore Penal Code 118.1 PC would not apply to false information that was entered in reports for civil or administrative matters, such as traffic accident reports.

Additionally, it is often the case that third-party witnesses knowingly present false information that could make it into an officer’s report. In these situations, the officer would not be criminally liable for the statements made by another person, even if the officer suspects the information is not true. Police officers can only be prosecuted for their own false statements knowingly entered into reports.

Penalties for officer

Filing a False Report by a Police Officer is a “wobbler” offense. That means that it can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the officer. If prosecuted as a felony, this offense can carry up to three years in prison and expensive court fines. In addition, the police agency employing the officer can take additional disciplinary action against the officer, including terminating their employment. They may be barred from serving in law enforcement following a conviction for Filing a False Report.

POLICE MISCONDUCT:

Police misconduct refers to ill-appropriated conduct and or illegal actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties. Police misconduct can lead to a miscarriage of justice and sometimes involves discrimination and or illegal motives of segregation combined as obstruction of justice. In an effort to control police misconduct, there is an accelerating trend for civilian agencies to go beyond review to engage directly in investigations and to have much greater input into disciplinary decisions.[1] In addition, individuals and groups are now filming police in an effort to force police to become accountable for their actions and for their inactions. With the proliferation of mobile devices capable of recording alleged misconduct, police misconduct and abuse is now receiving publicity on social media and on websites including YouTube. In response, police often try to intimidate citizens to prevent them from using cameras. In other circumstances, police will illegally seize or delete evidence recorded by citizens, notwithstanding laws that make it a crime to destroy evidence of a crime being committed, irrespective of whether the crime is committed by civilians or by the police.[2][3]

Types of misconduct include coerced false confession, intimidation, false arrest, false imprisonment, falsification of evidence, spoliation of evidence, police perjury, witness tampering, police brutality, police corruption, racial profiling, unwarranted surveillance, unwarranted searches, and unwarranted seizure of property. Others include:

  • Bribing or lobbying legislators to pass or maintain laws that give police excessive power or status

  • Similarly, bribing or lobbying city council members to pass or maintain municipal laws that make victim-less acts tickettable (e.g. bicycling on the sidewalk), so as to get more money

  • Selective enforcement (“throwing the book at” people who one dislikes; this is often related to racial discrimination)

  • Sexual misconduct

  • Off-duty misconduct

  • Noble cause corruption, where the officer believes the good outcomes justify bad behavior

  • Using badge or other ID to gain entry into concerts, to get discounts, etc.

  • Influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty

  • Violations by officers of police procedural policies

Police officers often share a ‘code of silence‘, which means that they do not turn each other in for misconduct. While some officers have called this code a myth,[7]a 2005 survey found evidence that it exists.

Sources: City and County of San Francisco Police Department, California Legislative Information, Wikipedia, .justia.com

Photos credit to: Wikipedia




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