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How To File A False Police Report

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California Penal Code Section 1181 Pc: Police Officers Filing False Reports

Former La Mesa officer on trial for filing false police report

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:

  • The defendant is a law enforcement officer and while acting in an official capacity
  • Wrote a report in a criminal matter
  • That report contained false information regarding a material matter AND
  • 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.

    2. Examples

    3. Related Offenses

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    What Are The Consequences For Filing A False Police Report In New Jersey

    You made the mistake of filing a false police report in Elizabeth, NJ and are now wondering what penalties you might be facing for violating the law. The fact is, it is illegal to knowingly file a fraudulent police report and someone who does so may have criminal charges filed against them. A conviction for filing a police report will result in a criminal record and penalties including a fine, probation, and/or jail. Two common scenarios an individual can be charged for filing a police report that contains false information are described below.

  • The first is when a person files a fictitious report. When an individual is found guilty of reporting an offense or other incident to law enforcement officers knowing it did not occur or, pretends to furnish to authorities information relating to an offense or incident when he knows he has no information relating to such offense or incident, he/she is guilty of committing a disorderly persons offense. For example, if you accidentally wrecked your vehicle and called the police and reported it as a hit and run, this would be considered a disorderly persons offense. In fact, you could land yourself in hot water with your insurer if you attempted to file an accident claim but blamed the incident on a driver who fled the scene of the accident. You could also be charged with insurance fraud criminally.
  • What are the penalties for filing a fictitious police report?

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    What Happens When You File A False Police Report?

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    How To Press Charges For False Accusations

    You cant stop people from filing police reports, even if they are false. Its 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 polices 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.

    Read Also: What Can You Sue The Police For

    False Statements To A California Police Officer

    Some don’t realize that giving false statements to a police officer is a crime in California. Others believe giving police information that is just partially untruthful is just a minor issue with no consequences, but it could lead to harsh penalties

    Seasoned police officers typically know if you are lying to them because they have extensive experience dealing with people giving them false information. They are very familiar with the common signs of lying.

    For example, body language, emotions, details that don’t make sense, changing stories, avoiding eye contact, and lying on minor stuff. They frequently develop reliable gut feeling for detecting a lie. Once a police officer has suspicion you are lying to them, you will get a closer examination.

    There are several California statutes dealing with providing false information to law enforcement officers. Giving false information to police officer is typically a misdemeanor crime, but in some cases, the charges are more serious.

    A conviction for proving false statements to police can have a long-term impact on your future opportunities.

    To give readers a better understanding of the different laws on providing false information to a police officer, our criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.

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    Do I Need A Lawyer For An Issue With A False Police Report

    If you have filed a police report in good faith, but later learn that information you provided was false, then it is important that you alert law enforcement as soon as possible. If you were charged with filing a false police report, then you should immediately consult with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

    An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you identify any legal defenses available based on the specifics of your case, as well as represent you in court as needed. Additionally, an attorney can also represent you in any resulting civil cases that may be filed against you for damages that occurred as a result of the false police report.

    False Reporting Of A Crime

    Sacramento Police officer arrested, accused of filing false report

    Filing a false police report and giving false information to law enforcement are common offenses in Florida, and many of the defendants have little or no prior criminal record. The majority of defendants who are charged with false reporting of a crime did so under duress or after being involved in a stressful situation. The problem with filing a false police report or making a false statement is that you cannot simply take it back. Florida prosecutors and law enforcement agencies take this offense seriously, and will seek punishment even for defendants who have a valid explanation for their actions. If you have filed a false report of a crime, or made a false statement to a law enforcement officer do not talk to the police without first contacting a criminal defense lawyer. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal lawyer who specializes in charges for false reporting of a crime. He has successfully defended numerous clients who have been charged with this offense, and continues to fight for dismissals in each and every case. Benjamin is available to discuss your charges anytime at 543-0305, and can meet 7 days a week at his Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach offices. He is also willing to travel to more convenient locations anywhere from Miami to Fort Pierce to discuss your case. Benjamin is an experienced criminal lawyer practicing in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

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    What Penalties Will An Officer Face

    If an officer is found guilty of false reporting, it can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. If they are found guilty of a misdemeanor, they can end up in jail for a maximum of one year or they can be put on misdemeanor probation. If the false reporting is worse and the officer is charged with a felony, they will have a maximum of three years in prison or felony probation.

    Filing A False Police Report: Ny Law Explained

    When you go on record with New York law enforcement even for something that feels like a very minor incident your words will be very carefully scrutinized. If something you say in a police report is found to be false, you could face serious charges.

    Falsely reporting an incident is a crime, and depending on why someone lies, its an issue that could lead to further charges.

    Here, well look at the law that surrounds falsely reporting an incident, the potential consequences you could face, and why its essential that you work with an experienced defense attorney if youve been charged with this type of crime.

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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.

    Proving The Untrue Statements

    Filing a False Police Report

    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 persons statement, you are not entitled to compensation its not enough to show that the person was wrong about some of the details. You also cant 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 cant 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 Statutory Declaration Protective Order

    A statutory declaration is a legal document similar to an affidavit but it is a statement made not sworn under an oath. The statutory declaration is used by declarants to report that something is true to the best of their knowledge. Unlike a sworn affidavit, these forms are primarily presented to government organizations outside the court.

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

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    How To Report Falsehoods On Police Reports

    This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 32,360 times.

    A person files a false police report when they knowingly make false statements to the police. In other words, they know the statements are false when they make them. It is not enough that they are simply wrong about the details.XResearch source If you suspect that a police report contains false information, then you should find evidence that shows the statements are false. Then you should bring this evidence to the attention of the police. If you were harmed by a false police report, then you can sue for money compensation.

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  • Filing A False Police Report: Elements Of The Crime

    What Happens if You File a False Police Report?

    If you file a police report that turns out to be inaccurate or even completely false, it doesn’t necessarily mean a crime has been committed. A person’s memory may be unreliable, or they may have relied on false information when filing the report. But the bottom line is that the individual must have known the report was false when filing it in order to be charged with a crime. Thus, the elements of the crime are as follows:

  • The defendant filed a report with a peace officer and
  • The defendant knew the report was false.
  • Depending on the jurisdiction and the details of the case, the prosecutor also may be required to prove that the defendant made the false statement with the intent to interfere with the criminal justice system. For instance, someone in a criminal gang files a false police report against a member of a rival gang in order to “take the heat off” one of their own.

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