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 criminal investigation or 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 simply punishes one who intentionally provides or omitss information in an application for bail.

However, since both statutes punish the same basic crime (i.e., the violation of a legal obligation to tell the truth); a person can only be convicted of one crime due to Double Jeopardy protections (even if they were originally charged with both). [1]

Likewise, in addittion to Providing False Information to Law Enforcment, a person could also be charged with Resising an Officer without Violence by providing false information. [2] But due to Double Jeopardy protections, the person could only be convicted of one charge or the other.

Penalties for Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

The crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement is classified as 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 as Third Degree Felony.

Misdemeanor Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

If convicted of misdemeanor Providing False Information to Law Enforcement, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

Felony Providing False Information to Law Enforcement

If the false information related to a missing child 16 years of age or younger who suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death, then the crime of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement is a Third Degree Felony.

If convicted of felony Providing False Information to Law Enforcement, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in jail.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

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:

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