Can a Person Recant a Statement in a Police Report?
In some cases, you might want to recant a statement you made for a police report. Recanting a statement means you want to withdraw, or take back, a previous statement that you made to the police. This can occur for a variety of reasons, and it can happen in almost any criminal investigation. However, people often worry that law enforcement will somehow attempt to retaliate against them for recanting their statement. Some people worry that recanting their statement might result in criminal charges for providing false information to police, or they may worry that they will be charged with obstruction of justice.
While recanting a statement is allowed, there are times when law enforcement can file charges depending on the information they received. The consequences of deciding to recant your statement will vary depending on your specific situation. If you need more information, contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today to discuss your case.
What Crimes Could I Face If I’m Caught Providing False Information to Police?
Someone might consider recanting a statement because the statement includes false information. Officers can bring a few different charges against someone who submits false information.
Obstruction of Justice
If you give false information to law enforcement, you could face charges for obstruction of justice. In New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 30-22-1, obstruction of justice is referred to as resisting, evading, or obstructing an officer. Under the statute, resisting, evading, or obstructing an officer consists of:
- Knowingly obstructing, resisting or opposing any officer of this state or any other duly authorized person serving or attempting to serve or execute any process or any rule or order of any of the courts of this state or any other judicial writ or process;
- Intentionally fleeing, attempting to evade or evading an officer of this state when the person committing the act of fleeing, attempting to evade or evasion has knowledge that the officer is attempting to apprehend or arrest him;
- Willfully refusing to bring a vehicle to a stop when given a visual or audible signal to stop, whether by hand, voice, emergency light, flashing light, siren, or other signals, by a uniformed officer in an appropriately marked police vehicle; or
- Resisting or abusing any judge, magistrate, or peace officer in the lawful discharge of his duties.
Violation of this statute constitutes a misdemeanor criminal offense.
Filing a False Report
NMSA § 30-39-1 prohibits any person from intentionally making a report to a law enforcement agency or official that they know is false at the time of making the statement. For example, consider someone filing a police report alleging that their vehicle was stolen. However, in reality, the individual who reported the vehicle stolen had previously stolen the vehicle from another person. Law enforcement could file charges against the reporting party for filing a false report because they knew that the vehicle did not legally belong to them when they made the report. Violation of this statute constitutes a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense in New Mexico carries the potential of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
What If a Domestic Violence Victim Recants Their Statement?
Sometimes, a domestic violence victim will recant their statement accusing their alleged abuser. Many people think that the victim of a crime has the authority to drop criminal charges. This is not true. In this situation, the only person with authority to drop criminal charges is the prosecuting attorney. When a victim recants their statement, it does not automatically lead to dismissal. Whether or not the charges get dropped often depends on the amount of evidence the prosecution has without the victim’s statement. If the prosecutor can still prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt—even in the absence of the victim’s testimony—they will likely still bring charges.
Why Would Someone Recant Their Statement?
There are a number of reasons someone might decide to recant a statement they made to the police. Some examples include:
- They later realized that they mistakenly identified someone;
- The witness was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when giving the statement and later realizes it was inaccurate or questionable;
- If the statement does not reflect the information given to the police;
- If the witness no longer wants to participate in the prosecution;
- The witness comes to feel intimidated by the defendant or another party and fears for their safety; or
- If the witness initially lied to the police.
Any of these situations, along with many others, can lead a witness to want to recant their statement.
Still Have Questions About Recanting Your Statement? Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices Today
As we have discussed, there are a number of reasons someone might consider recanting a statement they made to the police. Whether the person is a victim or simply a witness, recanting a statement given to police occurs relatively frequently. However, in limited circumstances, law enforcement could file charges against you for filing a false report or obstruction of justice. If you are concerned about facing criminal charges for recanting a statement, you should consult with a lawyer right away.
Our team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices has over 30 years of combined experience representing those facing criminal allegations. We know that criminal charges can inflict unimaginable stress on anyone.
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we commit time to every client to learn the facts of their case and listen to their desired result. We know there is no “one size fits all” legal strategy. Our clients receive individualized attention that helps us prepare a tailored defense strategy unique to the facts surrounding their arrest. Our team will conduct a thorough investigation, listen to your concerns, and present you with possible legal defenses that apply to your case. If you are concerned about recanting a statement in New Mexico, contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation.