What Happens if You Lie to the Police?
Criminal defense attorneys are frequently asked by clients and prospective clients if they would get into trouble if they lied to law enforcement.
Simply put, yes. However, it is the instance in which you lie to the police that determines if you have committed a crime or not.
There are two main categories of lies to police that would result in criminal charges: falsely reporting a crime, or giving police false identification information.
Can You Lie as a Witness?
Yes, technically you can. However, it is not advisable. Telling the truth is best in any situation. Instead of talking to the police and feeling compelled to lie, you can equally invoke your right to an attorney and not answer a single question until a lawyer is present.
While lying to officers during questioning is not a crime, it does significantly damage your character. You will no longer be believed by the police, and possibly a jury down the line. It is better to simply invoke your right to remain silent. Tell the officers that you do not want to answer their questions without your attorney present. Even if they are persistent, you have the right to remain silent.
Filing a False Police Report in New Mexico
It is a crime to file a false report to law enforcement that you know to be false at the time you make it. If you are charged with filing a false police report, this is a serious crime that could result in jail or prison sentences; depending on the extent of the falsities.
To be successfully convicted of filing a false police report, the prosecutor must prove several elements:
- You were the person that made the false statement or report to law enforcement;
- The false statement was offered to an inquiry made by an officer;
- Your statements provided material facts about an incident, crime, or offense that police would be concerned with;
- You made the statement knowing that it was false at the time;
- You made the false report with the intent of obstructing, hindering or deceiving law enforcement.
Giving Police False Identification Information in New Mexico
If you are asked to provide your name, social security number, driver’s license or address, you must give correct information to the police. While you are not required to answer questions about their investigation, you cannot lie about these critical details. Doing so is a crime and could result in obstruction of justice charges.
The Consequences of Lying
If your lies or falsities fall into the two punishable categories, you will most likely face misdemeanor charges. Even though filing a false police report is a misdemeanor, that does not mean you will not face additional charges. For example, if a person is arrested because you accuse them of a crime, and then that same person is injured in jail, you could end up with additional charges besides the false police report if/when the truth is discovered.
Are You Under Arrest for Lying to the Police? Contact an Attorney Immediately
Bottom line, there is always a way to get in trouble for lying to police officers. Therefore, it is in your best interest to not do so.
Instead, speak with an attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. Our team is here to help you through your criminal charges – no matter how harsh they might be.
Schedule a free case evaluation now at 505-375-4765 or request your appointment online.