What Happens if You Lie to the Police?

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Most people know that they aren’t required to speak to the police under most circumstances. But is it ok to lie to the police? And if not, what are the consequences? Below is an overview of what can happen if you lie to the police in California.


Criminal consequences


Not only is lying to the police illegal, but violators face severe potential consequences if convicted. In fact, the three most common violations carry punishments of up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Below are three crimes that involve lying to the police in California.


1) Falsely reporting a crime – It is illegal in California to falsely report a crime to the police. In order to be convicted of this crime, it must be proven that you either:


– Provided false details about an actual crime, or

– Knowingly provided the police with a false report that a crime was committed.

Lying to the police is illegal and can be faced with heavy consequences

2) Giving false information to an officer – It is also illegal knowingly provide false information to a police officer. Examples of this violation include:


– Providing an officer with false information about where you’ve been or where you’re going, and

– Lying to an officer about whether or not you have auto insurance.


3) Giving false identification to an officer – Finally, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly provide false information to a police officer for the purpose of avoiding identification or evading the process of the court.


Tips for dealing with law enforcement


During encounters with police, it is advisable to always be courteous and polite, as insubordination and aggressiveness rarely result in positive outcomes. In addition, the following steps should be taken when dealing with the police:


  • Provide them with valid identification if requested
  • Provide them with your real name if requested
  • Provide them with proof of your car insurance if requested.


Other than the steps described above, it is advisable to politely decline to answer any other questions unless your experienced California attorney is present. Any other statements made to law enforcement can be used against you if you are charged with a crime.


San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys


Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with a crime in San Diego, California, seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible in all types of criminal cases. The talent and experience of our San Diego, California, attorneys ensures that our clients’ criminal cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in California, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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