Any time that you make a statement on record with New York law enforcement, even for a minor incident, your words matter. You must always be truthful and honest when filing a police report or giving a statement to the police. If anything you say in the police report or formal statement is found to be untruthful, you can be penalized for this.

If you falsely reported a crime, you’ll face penalties for that as well. And, if there is a motive behind your untruthfulness, for example, to cover up your own wrongdoing or to cover up someone else’s behavior, this could lead to even more serious charges. Read on to learn more about the law that surrounds formal statements with the police such as reporting an incident, as well as the potential charges you might face if you are charged with this crime.

Filing A False Police Report Is Not Protected By The First Amendment

As you probably already know, “The First Amendment provides that Congress makes no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In some cases, speech is protected by this amendment. However, reporting a crime falsely is one of the few types of speech that is not considered protected under this amendment. Depending on the severity of the untruthfulness, such as the degree to which the information was untrue or the gravity of what information is being covered up with a lie, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

What Is A Material Omission?

In some cases, people who have been charged with filing a false report in Nassau County, Long Island have made an affirmative statement that ended up being untrue. This sometimes means that the person made a statement of fact that doesn’t line up with what is known to be true about the incident in question.

However, a material omission is slightly different than simply stating untrue facts. For example, let’s say you are trying to claim that your car was stolen so you can collect insurance money. If you left the car somewhere with the keys in the ignition on purpose, and the car ended up being stolen, failing to disclose that you intentionally left the keys in the ignition would be considered omission, as omission is defined as “refraining from acting or disclosing.” 

In this specific example, filing a police report would be considered falsely reporting an incident, as you are claiming that a crime occurred, when in reality, you arranged for a crime to be committed. 

What Are The Penalties For Filing a False Police Report?

If lie by omission or provide false information on a police report, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony in New York State. The penalties for these crimes can be severe, and can negatively impact your life for quite some time. In some cases, your penalty may include up to one year in jail. In more severe cases, however, an individual charged with lying on a police report may be faced with a penalty of up to seven years in state prison.

How Can I Defend Myself Against This Kind Of Charge?

As with any criminal charge, remember your Sixth Amendment rights: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

In other words, you are entitled to a speedy, fair trial, and are entitled to legal counsel as well. However, remember that public defenders do not have the breadth of resources available to them that a private lawyer will have.

At the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily, our legal team will fight aggressively to defend you against this charge. Mistakes do happen, and you have the right to tell your side of the story in court with the help of a lawyer to defend you. The best way to ensure your rights are protected at all times, and that you have the strongest defense counsel working on your behalf, is to contact the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily and schedule a criminal case evaluation. 

The right Nassau County, Long Island criminal defense lawyer will explore the incident carefully, using your side of the story to present the facts. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be able to prove that you were unaware you provided false information, that your report was factual, or perhaps you were coerced into providing false information.

Schedule a criminal case evaluation with the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily today.