Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

Under Florida Statute 837.055, the crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement is committed when a person knowingly and willfully gives false information to a law enforcement officer conducting a felony investigation or a missing person investigation with the intent to mislead the law enforcement officer or impede an investigation.

Related Charges

Unlike Perjury, Providing False Information to Law Enforcement does not require a person to be under oath and punishes a person who intentionally provides false information to a law enforcement officer.

Additionally, a person can be charged with both Providing False Information to Law Enforcement and Resisting an Officer without Violence for the same act of providing false information. [1]

Penalties for Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

The crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement is a First Degree Misdemeanor in Florida. However, if the false information related to a missing child 16 years of age or younger who suffers great bodily harm or death, the crime is reclassified to a Third Degree Felony.

False Information to Law Enforcement in a Criminal Investigation

The crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in a Criminal Investigation is a First Degree Misdemeanor in Florida and punishable by up to one (1) year in jail, one (1) year of probation, and $1,000 in fines.

A judge may sentence a person convicted of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in a Criminal Investigation to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of one (1) year in jail.

Felony Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

The crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement related to a missing child 16 years of age or younger who suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death is a Third Degree Felony in Florida and is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Providing False Information to Law Enforcement related to a missing child 16 years of age or younger who suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death is assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

A judge may sentence a person convicted of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement related to a missing child 16 years of age or younger who suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of five (5) years in prison.

Defenses to Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement are:

Double Jeopardy

Providing False Information to Law Enforcement, Perjury, and Resisting an Officer without Violence punish the same basic crime (i.e., the violation of a legal obligation to tell the truth). However, a person can only be convicted of one crime due to Double Jeopardy protections even if they were originally charged with all three crimes. [2]

Unit of Prosecution

Because the term “information” is defined as one or more statements of fact, a person can only be prosecuted for a single offense of Providing False Information arising out of each interview, no matter how many false statements a person makes during an interview. [3]

However, if a person repeats the false information in multiple interviews, the person can be prosecuted for each interview in which the false information was repeated.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Simeon v. State, 778 So. 2d 455 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)
  2. State v. Anderson, 695 So. 2d 309 (Fla. 1997)
  3. Anthony v. State, 108 So. 3d 1111 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013)