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Can You Sue Someone For Filing A False Police Report

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Violating A Civil Right

California Penal Code 118.1 PC – Police Filing False Reports

When people claim that a member of law enforcement has falsely arrested them, they sometimes file a complaint alleging a violation of their civil rights. These civil rights lawsuits are known as “Section 1983” suits because they are named after the federal law, United States Code Section 1983, which authorizes them. These lawsuits are brought in federal district court.

People most commonly file 1983 cases after the police, prison guards, or other state officials use excessive or unreasonable force while acting in their official capacity, known as acting “under color of law.” For example, if the police obtain a search warrant to search your home and, while conducting the search, decide to use pepper spray on you and your family while you are restrained and not resisting, their actions violate your constitutional civil rights and you can sue them under section 1983.

On the other hand, if you and a non-uniformed, off-duty police officer get into a fight, that officer is probably not acting in his official capacity as an agent of the state and you probably can’t sue for civil rights violations.

I Am The Victim Of Defamation:

  • Document your claimwhen, where and how was a false statement published?
  • Act quickly, you have a limited time in which to sue
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

Prosecuting Of Police Officers For Lying In Police Reports

Therefore, if a police officer is caught knowingly making false statements in the police report, he or she may be prosecuted under California perjury laws. Our best police misconduct lawyers in California note, however, that state laws do not require oath or affirmation, which is why some police officers choose to submit reports without signing an oath.

Regardless of whether the police report was signed under penalty of perjury, the police officer who knowingly provides false information in his or her report can be prosecuted.

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Filing A False Police Report

Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors

Filing a false police report is a crime and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you decide to call the police and file a report of a fake crime against someone else, it will be considered a false police report.

This is an example of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment and is in fact considered a crime against justice itself. Legal specifics vary by jurisdiction, but the following information provides a general overview of the crime.

What Are The Consequences Of Falsely Accusing Someone Of A Crime In Texas

Sample Police Report Template

The most important part to this question is: What was the intent of the accusation? In Texas, it is not illegal to mistakenly accuse someone of a sex crime if they believed the person was guilty. However, if the accuser did not have reasonable grounds for this accusation and reported it, he/she could face civil, or criminal charged for doing so.

Under Texas law, it is an offense for a person to knowingly make a false statement to the police or the court that is material to a criminal investigation with the intent to deceive. In fact, purposefully lying on a police report is a crime and carries a consequence of prison time. If this false accusation leads to a courtroom trial, the penalty is severe. If the individual commits perjury, or lies under oath, he/she could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison time of 2 to 10 years.

A person who purposefully made false accusations to the police may also be required to pay restitution to the police department for wasting resources and time. This will also need to be proven in court.

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How Do They Prove It

Unfortunately for the fake reporter, it is often quite simple for authorities to prove a false report. Here is one hypothetical scenario.

Imagine you have a tenant in your business park that is a pain. They are excessively loud, and their clientele leaves messes in the parking lot. One day you call the police for a noise complaint. The police investigate but do not do enough to quell the racket.

You decide to take things up a notch and file a false police report that the business owner stole your air compressor. The police investigate your report. Soon they are at your door with evidence of emails between you and your tenant. In these emails, you permitted him to use the air compressor.

You have just been caught filing a false police report. Crimes like this are not difficult for police to prove. You are likely to serve time, pay a fine, do community service, or all of these things.

What Are The Penalties For Intentionally Accusing Someone Of A Crime In Nevada

Intentionally causing an innocent person to be arrested or charged with an offense he/she didnt commit is called the Nevada crime of malicious prosecution. If the crime that the person was falsely accused of is a felony in Nevada, then the accuser would be charged with a category D felony in Nevada carrying:

Meanwhile, if the falsely alleged crime is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada or misdemeanor in Nevada then the accuser would be charged with a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Note that if the accuser filed a police report, he/she may also be charged with the Nevada crime of filing a false police report. This is a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

A false accuser may also face civil lawsuits from the person he/she made wrongful allegations against. The judge in these cases may award compensatory and punitive money damages.

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Police Reports May Be Privileged

Generally, false police reports are protected from defamation claims because the law deems them to be privileged to a certain degree. This means the person cannot be held liable for the statements he made even if they could be considered defamatory. The reasoning here is that citizens should be encouraged to report potential criminals to the police without the threat of legal action if they get the facts wrong. In most states, the privilege applies as long as the person filed the report in good faith. If she did it just to annoy or harass you, then you may be able to argue that privilege does not apply. The law is complicated, so speak to a lawyer about your options.

Offences For False Allegations Of Abuse

KVUE Defenders: What happens when someone files a false police report?

In theory, a person who knowingly makes a false allegation of sexual abuse may be committing a number of offences under the Criminal Code. A person who knowingly makes a false statement to a police officer accusing another person ofcommitting a crime commits the offence of mischief, contrary to section 140 of the Code. If the false allegation resulted in a civil or criminal proceeding in which the person whomade the allegation testified, other offences might be committed, including perjury or making a false affidavit . If the accuser persuaded or misled the child or anotherperson to make a false statement, this would be the offence of obstruction of justice . However, given the criminal standard of proof and the difficulty of proving that the person who made the statement knew it was false,there are very few charges laid under any of these sections in any context.

The difficulty with laying any of these charges is that a prosecution will only succeed if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the statement was false and that the person making the statement knew it was false. The maker of afalse report has a defence if they have an “honest belief” in the allegation when it was made, even if the belief was not reasonable. It may be that the accuser would be found liable if it can be proven that he or she was”wilfully blind” to the falsity of the statement when it was made.

3.1.1 Finding of Contempt of Court Against Person Making False Allegation

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Report Not Made To Authorities

A person is only guilty under these laws if he made a false report to some type of , such as a police officer. This means it is a defense for a defendant to say he did not make a report to the authorities. Perhaps, for example, the accused just lied to store security that he had witnessed a person shoplifting.

Making A False Police Report

Someone who files a police report that contains information that isn’t true hasn’t necessarily filed a false police report. She may identify the hit-and-run car as blue when it was black, or say the driver was a young woman when in fact it was a mature woman. Everybody makes errors in eye-witness testimony, and nobody can or should fault them for it.

Making a false police report is a different thing altogether. It involves intentionally feeding the police incorrect information, usually for one of two purposes: to shield themselves from police scrutiny for a crime they committed, or to implicate an innocent person for a crime as personal revenge. The types of false information given may include:

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Compensation In A Civil Lawsuit

If you are exonerated in a criminal case that alleged sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation for your monetary losses. This could include attorney fees, court costs and the costs of the investigation. You may even be entitled to loss of salary if the false claim led you to become unemployed.

In addition to actual costs you may have incurred, you may also be entitled to compensation for humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish. If the accusation was related to a custody battle, you may be able to sue for additional time with your children or even full custody if your ex was the accuser.

How To Press Charges For False Accusations

Sample Police Report Template

You can’t stop people from filing police reports, even if they are false. It’s up to the police to investigate the complaint and take the appropriate action. If someone lied out of hand, then the police may charge the person with obstructing a police investigation but again, this is the police’s call, not yours. The only option you have is suing someone for defamation of character if the statements made against you were completely untrue but were not expressed as an opinion.

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The Defense: A Criminal Lawyer

If you are in a situation where you have filed a false police report, whether or not it was intentional, it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They may be able to argue that the statements were not made knowingly or that the statements were not intended to obstruct the work of the police. Defending a false report case is tricky, but it can be successfully handled.

If youve ever seen Netflixs Making A Murderer docuseries, you know just how complex and difficult it can be to clear someones name after providing the police with false information. The case of Brenden Dassey is a globally-known example of what can happen when someone speaks to the police without a criminal defense lawyer present.

Brenden Dassey was convicted for life after admitting to charges of rape and murder. The documentary attempts to falsify Dasseys statement to the police, and while it appears to the public that he was coerced into lying to the officer, he is still in prison. However, if Dasseys report to the police was in fact false, as the show makes it seem, he could have avoided the entire situation if he would have had a criminal defense lawyer present at the time of the interrogation.

Dasseys case is just one possible avenue when it comes to lying to the police. There are many other outcomes that can result if you file a false police report. To learn more, check out how long you have to file a police report after a crime has taken place.

Proving The Untrue Statements

In a civil defamation case, the burden is on you to prove that the accusations made against you were false. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, so if there are facts to back up the person’s statement, you are not entitled to compensation it’s not enough to show that the person was wrong about some of the details. You also can’t sue someone for defamation for merely expressing an opinion. You must have clear and convincing evidence that what was said about you was categorically untrue, such as documents, emails, timelines and witness testimony.


  • You can’t press charges for false accusations, but you may be able to sue the person who made the untrue statements in civil court and obtain a monetary award against him.


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What Is A False Allegation

In order for a person to be accused of making false allegations, you will have to be able to prove in court that they lied on purpose. The difference between telling a lie on purpose and giving the wrong information believed to be true will be an important matter in any false accusations court matter.

For example, if someone accuses you of assaulting them because they are angry at you and want revenge, even though they are fully aware that you did not assault them, they are committing a false allegation.

If someone accuses you of assault but genuinely believes you assaulted them, then this act is not illegal.

Other Criminal Charges Involving False Allegations

Is it a crime to make a false police report? (Penal Code 148.5)

If a person has falsely accused you of a crime, there are a number of other ways that they could have made a false statement that could result in criminal charges.

Some examples of activities that could result in criminal charges if the accuser has purposefully lied include:

  • Making false reports about missing people
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Falsifying government records
  • Filing false financial statements

These criminal charges can result in felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions, depending on the circumstances of your accusers allegations.

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Were The False Statements Made Knowingly And Intentionally

The key factor in determining whether or not the inaccurate or false police report constitutes police misconduct is to prove or disprove that the false statements provided in the report were knowingly and intentionally made false when writing the report.

In many cases, police officers may misrepresent certain details of an accident or incident based on misperception or inaccurate recollection of memories. Many police reports are written by cops hours or even days after witnessing or investigating a certain criminal or personal injury crime.

If a mistake in a police report was made unintentionally, accidentally and unknowingly, the police officer may not be held liable for police misconduct. If an officer is lying or providing false information with an intent to deceive, he or she may be prosecuted under California perjury laws.

If a police officerâs story differs from that of you or your family member, seek the immediate legal advice of an Anaheim police misconduct attorney at the JML Law. Only an experienced lawyer can poke holes in the police report and determine whether or not the statements provided by the officer were knowingly and intentionally false. Call our offices at or complete this contact form.

What Can I Do If Someone Has Filed A False Police Report Against Me

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False Arrest Committed By The Police

When most people think about the police committing false arrest, they think it refers to an arrest that was not supported by evidence. But this is not the standard for measuring whether the police have falsely arrested someone. To be guilty of false arrest, the police must act without authority, or beyond the scope of their powers.

For example, imagine someone whom the police arrest based on another person’s sworn statement. The evidence later shows the sworn statement was a lie. However, as long as a judge found the statement reasonable at the time and issued a warrant based on it, the police acted properly in making the arrest. In this situation there is no case of false arrest against the police because they have the authority to arrest those they reasonably suspect of having committed a crime.

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