Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Florida: An Attorney’s Perspective
Under Sec. 837.055, Florida Statutes, the elements of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Florida are:
- A person knowingly and willfully gave false information to a law enforcement officer;
- The officer was investigating a felony or conducting a missing-person investigation; AND
- The false information was given with the intent to mislead the officer or impede the investigation.
Penalties for Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Florida
|Type of Offense
|Up to 1 year of jail or probation, and a $1,000 fine
|Third-Degree Felony (if a missing child 16 years of age or younger is the subject of the investigation and the child suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement, or death)
|Up to 5 years of prison or probation, and a $5,000 fine
The charge carries a severity level of 1 (or 4 points) under the Criminal Punishment Code. Assuming there are no aggravating circumstances (such as prior criminal convictions), there is no minimum mandatory sentence. This means that even though the judge can sentence you up to the maximum prison time, the judge is not required to order any amount of prison time.
How Can I Fight a Charge of Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Florida?
Being charged with providing false information to law enforcement can be a daunting experience. However, there are several defenses that can be employed to challenge the State’s case or prove your innocence. Here are just a few of the strategies that can be used:
- Motion to Suppress: This is a legal tactic used to throw out evidence that was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. If the court agrees that the evidence was illegally obtained, it cannot be used against you in court.
- Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and willfully provided false information with the intent to mislead or impede an investigation. If there is not enough evidence to support these elements, the charges against you may be dismissed.
- Alibi Defense: If you can provide evidence that you were somewhere else at the time the alleged false information was given, you can use an alibi defense. This can be a powerful defense if you have credible witnesses or other evidence to support your alibi.
- Mistake of Fact: If you believed the information you provided was true at the time you provided it, you may be able to use a mistake of fact defense. This defense hinges on the idea that you did not knowingly provide false information.
These are just a few of the potential defenses that can be used when facing a charge of providing false information to law enforcement. An experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and develop the best defense strategy for your case.
FAQs About Providing False Information to Law Enforcement in Florida
1. Is it always a crime to provide false information to law enforcement?
Yes, under Florida law, it is a crime to knowingly and willfully provide false information to law enforcement officers. However, the severity of the crime can vary depending on the circumstances, such as whether the false information pertains to a missing child or a felony investigation.
2. Can I be charged if I unknowingly provided false information?
Typically, the crime of providing false information requires that the person knowingly and willfully gave false information. If you can demonstrate that you did not know the information was false, you may have a defense.
3. What happens if I provided false information about a serious crime?
If you provide false information about a felony investigation, you could be charged with a more serious offense. The exact charges can depend on the nature of the felony and the impact of the false information on the investigation.
4. What if I provided false information to protect someone else?
While it may be tempting to provide false information to protect someone else, doing so can lead to criminal charges. It’s important to speak with an attorney if you find yourself in this situation.
5. Can I retract false information I provided to law enforcement?
If you’ve provided false information to law enforcement, it’s important to consult with an attorney. In some cases, it may be possible to correct the record, but this can be a complex process that should be handled with legal guidance.
Call an Experienced Attorney Right Away
If you have been arrested or charged with providing false information to Law Enforcement in Central Florida, do not wait until charges are filed. You are more likely to have the charges dismissed or reduced when you have an experienced criminal lawyer by your side. Call or text us at 407-476-4111 to discuss the benefits of having a criminal lawyer who knows the process and will use his experience and skill to fight for you. We looking forward to fighting for you.