False Report of a Crime

Criminal Defense Lawyers Representing St. Petersburg Residents

There is perhaps no criminal offense that police officers dislike more than that of falsely reporting a crime. Police, whether right or wrong, view their job as sacred and can be extremely hostile to anyone who they believe intentionally wastes their time or uses emergency services in a criminal manner. Prosecutors and judges, who see people jailed and punished each and every day, can sometimes take it personally when an innocent person is charged with a crime based on the false report made by someone else. Because nearly everyone in the criminal justice system takes the crime of false report of a crime so seriously, it is all the more important that you consult with a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with it.

False report of a crime is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. While most misdemeanor cases are not treated very seriously, false report of a crime is one of the offenses that prosecutors routinely seek harsh sentences on. If law enforcement resources were expended needlessly or if a person was arrested or charged based on the false statement, the prosecution will go after the defendant even harder.

Elements

To prove someone guilty of making a false report of a crime, the prosecution must prove several elements at trial. First, the state must prove that the defendant in the case provided information to law enforcement indicating that a crime had been committed in Florida. Second, they must show that the person making the report knew that the information was false and that a crime had not actually been committed. Finally, the State must prove that the information was given to a person who the defendant knew was a law enforcement officer.

Defenses

A skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer can develop several potential defenses for you if you happen to be charged with false report of a crime. One of the essential elements of the crime is “knowledge.” The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime did not actually happen and that you knew that no crime happened. It is extremely difficult to prove that something did not happen. This is one of the reasons that the government bears the burden of proving that people are guilty and committed a crime, and why defendants are not required to prove that they are innocent. If your lawyer can show the prosecution that they will have difficulty proving that there was no crime, your charges could be reduced or dismissed.

Often, people end up charged with false report of a crime even when a crime actually did happen. Both violent crimes and property crimes are often committed by people who are close to the victim, such as friends and family. While initially the victim of such an offense will want the police and prosecutors involved, sometimes they change their minds and decide not to press charges. Law enforcement officers do not like when this happens, and some will see this action as the victim intentionally misusing emergency services. When a victim decides to forgo pressing charges or avoids the police who are investigating the case, sometimes law enforcement will retaliate by filing charges of false report of a crime.

This is an all too common scenario, and if you find yourself in a similar situation, you need to contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney right away. A skilled lawyer can conduct an independent investigation on your behalf to show that you were in fact a victim of a crime and that the charges against you should be dropped.

Speak to a St. Petersburg Defense Attorney Today

The lawyers at Hanlon Law fight for our clients’ rights and strive each day to secure the best results on their cases. Call us today at (727) 897-5413 so that we can help you develop the best possible defense for your unique case.

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As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William! Jerry
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