/ 12.19.23

What Happens If You Give the Cops a Fake Name?

Written by: Doug Ridley

The Consequences for Providing Officers with False Information

Interaction with the police can lead to an arrest, criminal charges, and a possible conviction. If you are being questioned by police, it is normal to be scared. Feeling fear and pressure, you might not be able to think clearly. At that moment, you might feel the best way to get out of it is to give the officer a false name. But what happens when you provide false information to the police?

Have you been arrested and/or charged with a crime? If so, it is imperative you consult with a California criminal defense attorney immediately. At Ridley Defense, our skilled team of criminal defense lawyers has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases. We can get to work right away to give you the best possible outcome. Contact us at (805) 208-1866 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

Is It Illegal to Give False Information to a Police Officer?

Yes. Providing false information, such as a different name or birthdate, is illegal under California Penal Code 148.9. This includes identifying yourself as someone else or giving the officer a fictitious name. Many times, individuals give the name, birthdate, and/or contact information of someone they know, possibly a friend or family member. Besides getting their family member, co-worker, or friend in hot water, giving someone else’s information to officers can result in either misdemeanor or felony identity theft charges.

What They Must Prove to Convict You

In order to be convicted under California PC 148.9, the prosecution must prove the following:

  • You were aware you were speaking with a police officer.
  • You falsely identified yourself by giving the name or other information of another person or providing a fictitious name or birth date.
  • You did so while the officer was engaging in the performance of his or her duties.
  • You gave false information to evade the process of the court or to evade properly identifying yourself.

What Are the Penalties for Giving False Information to the Police?

If you are convicted of providing false information to the police under PC 148.9, you face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. You may face harsher penalties if you are ultimately charged and convicted of another crime, such as driving under the influence.

What to Do If You Are Being Questioned By Police

If an officer asks for your name and contact information, you should always give him or her the correct information. If the cop asks you any other questions, it is best to tell them you wish to remain silent and would like to speak with your lawyer. You are not obligated to answer their questions, and refusing to provide any other information other than your name and birthdate in no way makes you look guilty. Officers know you have the right to remain silent and will not view it as an admission of guilt.

Why You Should Speak with an Attorney

Courts in California do not take lying to the police lightly. Therefore, if you are facing charges of false identification, you need to speak with a defense attorney immediately. Hiring an attorney will help you get the best outcome possible. He or she can negotiate with prosecutors to possibly have the charge reduced or even dismissed.

Speak with a Leading Criminal Defense Lawyer in California

It is never a good idea to lie to the police. Whether you are being investigated for a minor offense or serious criminal activity, giving the police false information is only going to make the situation much worse. It is best to give them your real name, birthdate, and contact information, invoke your right to remain silent, and let your California criminal defense attorney handle the rest. 
The criminal defense lawyers at Ridley Defense have been assisting clients in a wide range of legal matters for over 20 years. Our attorneys have successfully obtained positive outcomes by securing charge reductions and dismissals. If you are facing criminal charges, let our team fight for your rights and freedom. Contact us online or call (805) 208-1866 to arrange a free consultation with a skilled and dedicated criminal defense attorney in California.

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