False Statement to a Police Officer
In Maryland, under Criminal Law Article Section 9-501, it is a crime to make a false statement to a law enforcement officer. But what exactly is a “statement” and what does it mean for the statement to be “false”?
Definition of Offense
A person cannot make a false “statement, report, or complaint” to a police officer under this law. For the statement to be illegal, the person who makes the statement must know that it is false in whole or in material part. The statement also must be made with the intent to deceive and to cause an investigation or other action to be taken as a result of the statement.
Penalty for False Statement to Officer
This offense is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of six (6) months in jail and/or a fine of $500. Since it carries more than three months, a person charged with this crime does have the right to demand a trial by jury.
Potential Defenses for False Statement
Typically this crime is charged in cases where someone makes a false report to an officer in order to benefit themselves in some way–for instance, a person who tells the police that his house was burglarized when in fact he just wants the insurance money. Another example is where someone gives a false name to police. There may be a potential defense to a case like that since the law requires that the false statement be made “to cause an investigation or other action,” which arguably would not apply to giving a false name. Other times, a person is charged just for giving some general false information to an officer. The State must prove that the person knew that information was false. Depending on the type of information, this may be difficult for the State to prove.
A Maryland Lawyer for a False Statement Charge
If you are facing a charge of making a false statement to an officer, contact the Law Offices of Christopher L. Peretti for a free consultation at 301-875-3472. We have experience with these types of cases and can help you out with your situation.