Arrested for Making a False Police Report: Charges, Penalties, and Defense

Gavel depicting arrested for false police report

Have you ever lost something very valuable? Were you tempted to file a police report saying it was stolen? Is it a crime to submit a false police report?

If you have been following entertainment news, actor Jussie Smollet of the Fox series Empire went before a Chicago grand jury recently as the state of Illinois claimed he did just that.

Smollet claims he was the victim of a hate crime on the Chicago streets. Two men attacked, beat him up, looped a rope around his neck, and threw an unknown chemical on him before running away.

Smollett claims the men were yelling slurs against his race and his sexual identity as they attacked. Now police are alleging Smollet paid two men to attack him and he is facing sixteen felony counts.

Charges for a False Police Report

It’s true that if you call 911 and intentionally make a false report of a crime or a medical emergency, that is a crime.

According to Michigan Penal Code 750.411a, any false report you make to any person authorized to receive crime reports is against the law. In addition, if your report:

  • is a false report of a misdemeanor, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor. The punishment is imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
  • is a false report of a felony, the person is guilty of a felony. The punishment is imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
  • results in injury to someone against whom you filed the report, you are guilty of a felony. This is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both.
  • results in serious impairment of a body function to someone against whom you filed the false report, you are guilty of a felony.  The punishment is imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $25,000.00, or both.
  • if your false results in the death of someone against whom you filed the report, you are guilty of a felony.  The punishment is imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not less than $25,000.00 or more than $50,000.00, or both.

What Counts as a False Report?

Calling and making an intentionally false report isn’t the only behavior that can get you charged with this crime. It is much more likely that you will be charged with this crime if you lie or attempt to lie to the police.

Here are a few more common examples:

  • Denying your part in a criminal undertaking.
  • Placing blame on someone else in an attempt to redirect a criminal investigation away from yourself.
  • Retelling the sequence of events to make yourself look less guilty.
  • Getting someone else to lie on your behalf.

Don’t Lie to Police

If police are questioning you in connection with a crime they are investigating, it’s best if you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights.Remain silent rather than tell anything except the truth.

As you can see outlined in the law above, police will take lying seriously. You could be charged with making a false report. The potential penalties for false reporting are harsh.

Jussie Smollett denies the allegations that his report was false. His lawyers have called the 16 felony counts against him “prosecutorial overkill.”

However, what if the prosecution can prove its case against him? And what if, during the investigation, one of the men he named had been killed by a police officer?

Mr. Smollet would have been looking at spending the rest of his life in prison.

Experienced Criminal Attorney for Charges of False Police Report

Do not succumb to the temptation to lie to police officers. Not for better pay on your job. Not to recover some money from a lost item. And, not to try to cover up your part in a crime.

If police are questioning you, tell them you are invoking your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney.

If you need an experienced attorney to look after your interests for this or any other criminal charge in the Detroit area, to call my office today.

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