There are numerous reasons why someone would lie to the police. Most often, the individual fears getting into trouble or getting someone else in trouble. Additionally, someone may tell the police false information without knowing the information is untrue. However, there are times when someone intentionally misleads police by filing a false report.
You may remember from childhood when you blamed a friend or sibling for doing something wrong even if you knew the other person was innocent. While you may have gotten scolded or punished for your actions, as an adult, the consequences can be much more severe. In fact, in Arkansas, filing a false police report in some circumstances can be a felony.
When a false report becomes a felony
Giving false information to the police is not the same as making a mistake when talking to police about official business. It is possible that you remember something incorrectly or are relaying wrong information you heard from someone else. Filing a false police report involves reporting a crime that did not occur or intentionally blaming someone for a crime when you know that person was not responsible. Charges of filing a false report can become serious if investigators suspect any of the following circumstances:
- You are trying to hinder the police in their investigation of a crime.
- Your report is part of a plan to commit fraud, for example filing a false insurance claim for stolen property
- Your report involves terroristic threats, such as a bomb in the building.
- The crime of which you make a false report is a capital offense.
- Someone gets hurt or is arrested as a result of your false report.
Other factors may lead to felony charges against you if authorities believe you intentionally made false statements to the police or investigators. You may also face civil penalties if the person you reported to the police suffers physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of the false claims.
No matter the circumstances that led to the police report you filed, if you now stand accused of making a false statement that resulted in harm to someone else, you have the right to seek legal counsel. Investigators should examine the facts surrounding the situation, and you certainly want to be sure they do not violate your rights. The consequences of a conviction for these charges carries too much weight to face them without the assistance of a skilled defense attorney.