If you are questioned by a law enforcement officer on the street after being pulled over in a vehicle, it is not uncommon to be nervous. Depending on why you are being pulled over just may persuade you how you will answer when questioned by police. Imagine driving on I4 enjoying your afternoon, and then you see blue and red lights flashing behind you. You pull over to the side of the road and the police officer walks up to your side of the window. You begin panicking for various possible reasons; your license is suspended, you have a firearm in the car, a warrant out for your arrest, or you even have drugs in the car. Now, how you respond to the officer’s questioning may affect if you are charged with providing false information to law enforcement. A charge of providing false information to law enforcement results from lying to law enforcement.
Under Florida law, Section 837.05, states that “a person who knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.” If this is your first offense, for False Information it is a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, can result in penalties of up to 1 year in jail or 12 months of probation, and up to a $1,000 fine. A second offense for providing False Information is classified as a third-degree felony, with possible penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and up to a $5,000 fine. In addition, a person who knowingly provides false information concerning a Capital Felony commits a felony of the third degree which may result in penalties of up to 5 years in prison 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
In order to be convicted of providing false information to law enforcement the prosecution must establish two elements beyond a reasonable doubt. To establish that the accused provided false information the state must prove that the accused knowingly and willfully gave false information about an alleged commission of a crime to a law enforcement officer.