What Does It Mean to Give a Police Officer False Information?

Law enforcement officials are supposed to protect your community. To do so, they need to have the correct information during investigations so they can come to accurate conclusions and see justice served. Due to this reasoning, giving false information to police in Georgia is illegal. There are a variety of actions that can fall under this potential crime category. Giving a false name, birth date, and address can qualify as giving false information to the police. Additionally, it is illegal in Georgia to make a false statement to any government agency, including police officers. It is also illegal to file a false report with the police in Georgia. If you find yourself in trouble and you need assistance, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation so we can get you the help you need.

Cases in Georgia of Individuals Giving False Information to the Police 

There have been many recent cases of people giving false information to police in Georgia. The following explanation may give you a better idea of what constitutes this illegal action.
For instance, Wynn v. State resulted in defendant Wynn being convicted of one count of giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, as well as two counts of felony obstruction. Two officers were searching for a fugitive and came across Wynn’s car. They saw an open container of alcohol and a can of beer next to the defendant Wynn, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. The officers identified themselves as police and asked the defendant to step out of the vehicle. They asked the defendant his name, which he claimed was “Mark Grimes.” 

The defendant told the officers he had no identification on him and consented to being patted down. The officers discovered a wallet in Wynn’s pocket, and the defendant gave his consent for the officers to search it. Inside the wallet, the officers found an ID stating the defendant’s true name. Wynn explained that the ID card belonged to his brother. When brought to court, Wynn was found guilty of giving a false name to the police.

Another instance of a conviction for giving the police a false name is the case of Smith v. State. A woman was driving her sister’s car without permission and was involved in a car accident. The police questioned her after the accident, and she gave her sister’s name instead of her own. She claimed that she was in fact her sister and she signed her sister’s name on the Miranda form. When the case was brought to court, the defendant was found guilty of intentionally giving an officer a false name.

Examples of Making a False Report

You may be wondering what are some examples of giving false information to police in Georgia and if your actions broke the law. Some of the most common instances of this crime are individuals who falsely report a theft in order to collect an insurance settlement. One might also falsely accuse a spouse of domestic violence in retaliation for the spouse’s annoying behavior. That is a crime. 

Other instances of filing a false report can include giving phony details regarding a situation by reporting that a crime has occurred when it has not, and also misstating the value of property that was stolen or damaged in some way.

As a note, if you make a false report about a bomb or a hazardous substance and this report turns out to be false, you may be found guilty of Transmitting a False Public Alarm. The penalty for this crime is more severe.

Examples of Giving a False Statement to the Police

Giving a false statement carries different penalties than making a false report and giving false information, and you may be wondering what actions constitute giving a false statement.
Creating or submitting a fake document in any matter involving a government agency, including the police, is considered as giving a false statement. An example of this could be if you altered or otherwise falsified information on a document that you are submitting to a police officer. 

Another example is if you knowingly concealed information or covered up evidence that you were giving to the police. Lying to the authorities may also fall under this category.

You may be concerned that you will be charged with perjury for lying to a police officer. However, you should know that you can only be convicted of perjury if you are lying under oath. An example of perjury could be if you give a false testimony at a trial, since you must affirm that your testimony is truthful. You are not under oath when speaking to a police officer, so you cannot be charged with perjury, though you could be charged for other crimes.

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