Massachusetts False Report of a Crime

When there is danger or the threat of danger, an accident occurs, or a crime is witnessed, calling the police is always a good idea and can be paramount to safety. However, while you shouldn’t hesitate to call the police in one of the above situations, falsely reporting a crime is a serious offense that can carry criminal penalties. Here’s an overview of what you should know about the crime of falsely reporting a crime in Massachusetts, as well as what you should do if you’re facing charges—

What Does the Law Say About Reporting a False Crime?

If a person reports a false crime, they can face criminal penalties. While the specific elements that make up the crime are discussed below, in essence, the crime is committed when a person makes a police report that contains false information. If charged and convicted, a defendant could face up to one year in jail or/and a fine of up to $500.

Elements that Make Up Filing a False Police Report Crime

In order to be convicted of falsely reporting a crime, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The elements that the prosecution will need to establish in order to meet the standard include:

  • The defendant made a report to a police officer;
  • The information contained in the report was false, fabricated, or otherwise untrue;
  • The false information that was provided in the report was provided intentionally—the defendant did not simply make a mistake or have misinformation in filing the report; and
  • The defendant knew that the information they were providing was false. 

How to Defend Yourself Against Charges

If you have been charged with falsifying a police report, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney who can start working on your case as soon as possible. The most common defense is arguing that you unintentionally provided false information—for example, if you truly misremembered a detail or accidentally provided a wrong fact.

Another potential defense is arguing that the information that you provided—whether intentionally or not—was immaterial to the case. For example, if you provided an incorrect detail so minor that it was unlikely to have any impact on how the case was handled, prosecuting you may not be sensible. 

How Your Attorney Can Help 

If you are facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to get legal help. An attorney will make sure you understand the charges you’re facing and the defenses available to you. Your lawyer will also review the prosecution’s evidence, build a defense, make sure all motions are appropriately filed, and negotiate a plea bargain if appropriate. 

At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced criminal defense attorney knows that you need an advocate you can trust. Call today at (978) 397-0011 for a consultation. You can also request a consultation using the contact form on our website.