Filing False Police Reports Law & Defense
California Penal Code section 148.5(a)
The law on the crime of filing a false police report, also known as false report of criminal offense, is found at California penal code section 148.5(a).
PC 148.5(a) Law
PC 148.5(a) Every person who reports to any peace officer..., the Attorney General, or a deputy attorney general, or a district attorney, or a deputy district attorney, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
PC 148.5(b) Every person who reports to any other peace officer...that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if
- The false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and
- The person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.
PC 148.5(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b), every person who reports to any employee who is assigned to accept reports from citizens, either directly or by telephone, and who is employed by a state or local law enforcement agency, that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor if
- The false information is given while the employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as an agency employee and
- The person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is an agency employee engaged in the performance of the duties described in this subdivision.
PC 148.5(e) This section does not apply to reports made by persons who are required by statute to report known or suspected instances of child abuse, dependent adult abuse, or elder abuse.
Penalties / Sentence for False Report of Crime
PC 148.5(a) is classified as a misdemeanor. If found guilty the defendant may face up to 180 days in the county jail.
If found guilty of PC 148.5 crimes probation sentences without jail may be available. Whether or not a probation sentence without jail is available mostly depends on the circumstances of the case and the defendant's criminal history.
Collateral Punishments for PC 148.5(a)
PC 148.5 crimes are not considered serious or violent as those terms are defined in the penal code but they are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means that any conviction for false report or crime will have severe negative consequences for immigration and professional licensing issues.
In addition to a possible probation or jail sentence (or both), if found guilty of false report of crime the defendant will face monetary fines, restraining orders, restitution orders for any damage caused to third persons, possible civil law suits, and more.
Common PC 148.5 Criminal Defense:
There are lots of defenses that might apply to any PC 148.5 crime. Some defenses are unique to the charge itself. For example, PC 148.5(e) carves out an exception for mandated reporters as a special defense. The most common defenses related to crimes in general, including any PC 148.5 crime, include: mistake of fact (or a holding a good faith belief that the report is true), statute of limitations (one year from the date of reporting the alleged false information), insanity, coerced confession, intoxication, insufficient evidence, police misconduct, and more.
If you or a loved one has been charged with penal code 148.5(a), or false report of crime, contact our criminal defense attorneys without delay.
Our criminal lawyers have successfully defended hundreds of felony and misdemeanor charges, including PC 148.5 crimes. There is no charge for consultations and our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer all of your questions and discuss all of your defense options. Call today!
Closely Related Crimes to Penal Code 148.5(a)
- PC 148(a)(1) Obstruction or resisting arrest
- PC 148(b) Removal of officer's weapon while resisting arrest
- PC 148.6(a)(1) Falsely allege police misconduct
- PC 148.9(a) Give false identification to police
- PC 148.3 Falsely report an emergency
- PC 148.1(c) Falsely report a bomb threat
- PC 69 Resisting an executive officer
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PC 148.5 Crimes: False Report of Crime
- Criminal Threats
- Domestic Violence
- Drunk in Public
- Elder Theft
- False Personation
- False Report of Crime
- Hit & Run
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts
- Vehicle Theft
- Welfare Fraud