Definition and Aspects of False Information to a Police Officer:
When put into an unfamiliar situation, someone might feel tempted to mislead or lie to an official person. However, under California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), it is a criminal offense to provide false information to a police officer in either spoken word or writing. Lying or giving misleading information in an attempt to deceive the officer is a misdemeanor, which can lead to severe fines, jail time and could lead to an unfavorable record in the eye of the court.
To be convicted of California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant purposefully gave false information to a police officer
- The Defendant was aware that the information was untrue
Providing false information can look like, but is not limited to the below situations:
- Showing a fake ID when the Defendant is asked to identify himself/herself
- Showing someone else’s ID
- Giving a different name to the officer
- Offering forged vehicle registration and insurance documents
- Providing misleading or untrue answers to the officer’s questions
Criminal Offenses Related to False Information to a Police Officer:
Similar or related offenses to California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), Providing False Information to a Police Officer:
- False Statements to the DMV or CHP – California Vehicle Code 20 (VC 20)
- Fraudulent Vehicle Registration – California Vehicle Code 4463 (VC 4463)
- False Identification to Police – California Penal Code 148.9 (PC 148.9)
- Forgery of a Driver’s License – California Penal Code 470(a) (PC 470(a))
- Possessing a Fake Driver’s License – California Penal Code 470(b) (PC 470(b))
Examples of False Information to a Police Officer:
A man is driving home, intoxicated with his friends from a bar. When he gets pulled over, and the officer asks for identification, he presents one of his friend’s ID in order to avoid legal trouble on his record. This constitutes as giving false information to the officer, and the man could be charged with California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31).
A woman falls on hard times and chooses to save money by not renewing her vehicle registration and instead forging one. When she gets pulled over by a police officer the following week, she presents the fake documents. Under California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), she is in violation of the statute and can be charged.
Defenses to False Information to a Police Officer:
One of the common defenses is to California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31) questions the intention of providing false information. If the Defendant gave information he/she thought to be correct but turned out to be untrue, the case could be dismissed.
Additionally, the pressure is on the Prosecution to prove that the Defendant purposefully provided false information. If the Defendant was nervous at the time and gave a statement without thinking, the charges could be lessened or dropped.
Consequences and Penalty for False Information to a Police Officer:
California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), providing false information to a police officer is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in county jail. Additional probation time might apply, depending on the details of the crime.
However, perhaps the most deeming factor of being charged with California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31) is the fact that the Defendant’s integrity is being called into question. If convicted with lying or knowingly misleading an officer, that proof of dishonesty can be used against the Defendant in any future convictions.
Depending on the details of the crime, this offense usually comes hand in hand with other charges, such as Forgery (PC 472) or providing false identification to the police (PC 148.9).
Providing False Information to a Police Officer, under California Vehicle Code 31 (VC 31), is a misdemeanor offense. It is imperative that if you are charged with providing false information to an officer, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Vehicle Code Section 31 (VC 31), Providing False Information to a Police Officer. Book a free consultation today.