/ 5.10.24

What Happens if You Give the Police a Fake Name?

Written by: Doug Ridley

The Consequences of Providing False Identification to Law Enforcement

If you are questioned or arrested by police, you might panic and think that the way out of the situation is to give them a fake name. But providing false information to law enforcement will likely only make the trouble you find yourself in even worse. In this article, we explain the potential consequences of giving a police officer a fake name and what you should do when speaking with the police.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact Ridley Defense. Our team consists of some of the top criminal defense lawyers in Ventura County with a reputation for securing the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Giving a False Name to the Police

If you are stopped or questioned by law enforcement, you might consider giving a false name as a way to avoid getting arrested or charged, especially if you have outstanding warrants or a criminal record. This might seem like a harmless way to avoid getting in trouble with the law, but in California, giving a fake name to the police is anything but harmless. In fact, the reality is far more complicated, and the consequences are severe.

Is Providing a False Name to the Police Against the Law?

Giving a fake name during questioning or an arrest is a form of providing false information to law enforcement, which is illegal under California Penal Code 148.9. To be convicted under PC 148.9, the following elements must be proven:

  • You were aware at the time that you were speaking with the police.
  • You gave the officer a fictitious name and/or birth date or provided the name or other identifying information of another person.
  • You provided false information while the police officer was performing their duties.
  • You gave the false name or identification in an effort to avoid properly identifying yourself or in an attempt to evade the process of the court.

The Consequences of Giving Police a Fake Name

If you are convicted of providing false information to law enforcement under California Penal Code 148.9, the penalties may include up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. If you are ultimately convicted of other crimes, such as aggravated assault or DUI, giving false information to the police may be considered an aggravated factor and result in additional penalties.

What Should You Do If You Are Being Questioned by Law Enforcement?

When law enforcement officers ask you for your name and birthdate, you should always provide them with the correct information. However, if the police ask you anything else, invoke your right to remain silent. If they arrest you, let them know you would like to speak with an attorney.

Police officers understand you have the right to remain silent and should not view your choice to invoke your 5th Amendment right as an admission of guilt. So, there is no need to feel pressure to answer their questions or worry that not speaking with the officers will make you look guilty.

Speak with a Southern California Criminal Defense Lawyer for FREE

While it might seem like a good idea at the time, providing a police officer with a fake name can - and will - make things worse. It is always best to give them your name, birthdate, and contact information but decline to give them any additional information. Politely ask to speak with a lawyer and refrain from offering any other details.

Have you been accused of a crime? Contact the legal team at Ridley Defense. Our Ventura County criminal defense attorneys will take immediate steps to protect your rights and preserve your freedom. We will thoroughly examine every aspect of your case and advocate strongly on your behalf to secure the best outcome possible. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary case review. (805) 208-1866

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