Can You Go to Jail for Lying to a Police Officer?

If you are wondering whether can you go to jail for lying to a police officer or not, then you have opened up the right article. That is because we will discuss the possible repercussions and all the legal trouble you might face for lying to a police officer under any given circumstances.

Lying is a huge part of human nature. It is not always wrong to lie. Sometimes we tell small lies that will not harm anybody or us in any way. However, when you lie to a police officer or law enforcement in general, it is a big deal. If you’ve ever fallen into this kind of situation then feel free to contact an experienced lawyer who have help you to solve your matters.

Let us dive into the discussion and see if we can clear up your queries regarding this situation.

Can You Go to Jail for Lying to a Police Officer?

The straightforward answer to the above question is yes. Yes, you can go to jail for lying to a police officer. This is because lying to a police officer or law enforcement is considered to be an act of crime.

There are laws that are implemented and practiced when someone is caught lying to a law enforcement officer. The punishment can be anything from a hefty fine to a few weeks, months, or even years of jail time.

Is It Illegal to Lie to an Officer?

Interestingly, it is not illegal to lie to a police officer. However, lying to a police officer is highly discouraged. This is because, despite the action not being illegal, you are bound to face repercussions.

What Happens If I Lie to the Police about a Friend’s Crime?

It might be a knee-jerk reaction to lie to a police officer in order to protect your friends. We understand. However, we also understand the consequences of such an action.

Thus, as much as you might want to protect and save a friend from facing the consequences of the crime they committed, we suggest you do not. Do not lie to the police about a friend’s crime. Why? We have discussed what will happen to you as a result of the cover-up for your friend.

Making False Statements

There are many reasons why giving a false statement to the police is a bad idea. First and foremost, it is simply ethically wrong. Next, and the most important, issue you will face is being charged as an accomplice.

To elaborate, if you witnessed your friend commit a crime and then lie about it to the police, you will be charged for making false statements and for achieving the same crime. This means if you make a false statement about a felony, you will be charged with a felony too.

Lying to Federal Agent

Now, are you wondering what will happen when you are caught lying to a federal agent? First, you will be charged with an act of crime. Second, you will be convicted and sentenced to serve up to five years in federal prison and will have to pay quite a substantial fine.

Why Shouldn’t You Speak to the police?

It is a generally known fact that you should not speak to the police. Or at least be mindful of how you speak with the police or anyone from law enforcement when interrogated.

Most of the time, people fall into trouble when they are being questioned by a law enforcement officer. You might either misbehave or fall into a trap while trying to hide the truth. In such situations, it is easy to convict you with an unintended law break.

Therefore, we suggest always ask for an attorney and seek legal advice before answering any questions. Below are some tips on how you should speak with a police officer when it is avoidable.

  • Always be polite and well-mannered. Never raise your voice.
  • If they ask for your identification card or papers, do not hesitate to give them.
  • Do not lie about your name or any personal questions about you.

Overall, unless it is absolutely necessary – life and death matter – do not speak to police or any law enforcement officer without expert legal guidance. The trouble you might face is just not worth it.

What’s the Penalty for Lying to the Police?

The penalty for lying to a police officer in the United States differs according to the law of the different states. The table below listed the penalty for lying or giving a false statement to police in ten states.

State Penalty Fine Jail Period
Arizona Class 1 Misdemeanor $2500 6 Months
California Felony Up to $10000 Up to 3 years
Florida Third Degree Felony; First Degree Misdemeanor $1000 to $5000 1 to 5 years
Illinois Class 4 Felony;

Class A Misdemeanor

$2500 to $25000 1 to 3 years
Kansas Class A Misdemeanor; Level 8 or 9 Felony $2500 Probation – 8 to 23 months;

1 year

Michigan Felony or Misdemeanor $500 to $50000 93 days to 15 years
New Jersey Fourth Degree Felony $10000 18 months
New York Class E or Class D Felony; Class A Misdemeanor $1000 to $5000 1 year to 7 years
Virginia Class 1 Misdemeanor $2500 1 year
Washington, D.C Misdemeanor $300 30 days

 

If your state is not mentioned above, then do not worry, you can always find the information with a quick search on the internet. Nonetheless, the penalty, jail time, and fine for lying to a police officer can affect you in the long run. For instance, it will go down in your public records as a criminal record, and that obviously is not good for you.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, the trouble and personal damage you might incur in your public record are not worth the risk of lying to a police officer. It does not matter how good of a liar you might believe you are; in the end, you will get caught. Law enforcement has decades of experience and worked with hardened criminals to immediately spot the signs of lying.

However, if you have already lied to a law enforcement officer and are being charged on that, we suggest you hire a highly experienced criminal defense attorney. They will be able to help you prevent any pitfalls and bring you out of the situation with the least amount of damage.

The question that can you go to jail for lying to a police officer should be discarded entirely from your mind. Instead, the fact that you should not lie to a law enforcement officer should be ingrained in your conscious mind.