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Filing a False Report in Jacksonville

Filing a False Police Report & Giving False Information About a Crime

There are two statutes in the State of Florida that deal with false reports. The first is the filing a false police report under Florida Statute 817.49. The second is giving false information concerning the commission of a crime under Florida Statute 837.05. There is a big difference between these two crimes: with the second, a crime was actually committed. For example, a witness is willfully misleading the police about what actually happened. In the filing a false police report, no actual crime occurred.

No matter what your circumstances, trust The Law Offices of Kate Mesic for the aggressive representation you need. Our criminal lawyer in Jacksonville, FL can be reached at (904) 615-8950.

Potential Penalties

In Florida the charge of filing of a false police report is a misdemeanor of the 1st degree, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

On the other hand, the first time a person is charged with giving false information concerning the commission of a crime it is considered a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000.00 fine. However, it becomes much more serious, if the person has previously been convicted of this crime than the charge becomes a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.

The statute also addresses false information concerning a capital felony. In that case, even a first offense is considered a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.

How Does the State Prove a False Police Report Was Filed?

The applicable Florida Statute is Section 817.49 states that is it is a criminal offense for a person to willfully and knowingly give false information or make a false report regarding the commission of an alleged crime where the alleged crime did not actually occur.

In order to prove the offense of false police report, the State must prove to the jury four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant willfully [gave or provided] [caused to be given or provided] false information or a report about the alleged commission of a crime under Florida law to law enforcement officer.
  • The defendant knew the information or report was false because [he] [she] knew that no such crime had actually been committed.
  • The law enforcement officer who received the report was actually a law enforcement officer.
  • The defendant knew that the law enforcement officer was actually a law enforcement officer.

Establishing Intent in a False Report Case

To prove the crime of giving false information concerning the commission of a crime, the State must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant knowingly gave information about the alleged commission of a crime.
  • The defendant knew the information was false.
  • The defendant gave the false information to a law enforcement officer.
  • The law enforcement officer was actually a law enforcement officer.
  • The defendant knew that this particular person was a law enforcement officer.

Common Defenses

Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys fight for you. We can create a defense based on a mistake, where you did not know that the information was actually false or did not intend to deceive law enforcement. You may have received misinformation from someone else and believed it to be true, for example.

We can also defense you based on information not given to a police officer, where you may have made the statement to someone else, or did not realize the person they were giving the information to was a police officer. There are other defenses that can come up. The State has a heavy burden to prove each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt and we work hard to counteract their arguments.

Call (904) 615-8950 today or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.

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