Select your state

Criminal charges

falsely reporting a crime

It is a criminal offense to make a false police report of a crime—knowingly and with the intent to deceive—if the statement is material to a criminal investigation and is made to (1) a peace officer or federal special investigator conducting the investigation; (2) any employee of a law enforcement agency that is authorized by the agency to conduct the investigation and that the person making the statement knows is conducting the investigation; or (3) a corrections officer or jailer.

The crime of making a false police report may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the state, and is punishable in many states by jail time, fines, community service, and probation. The definitions and punishments for the crime of making a false police report vary from state to state and are usually located in a state’s statutes.

In Texas, making a false report to a peace officer, federal special investigator, or any law enforcement employee authorized to conduct an investigation is a criminal offense when done knowingly with intent to deceive. This applies if the false statement is material to the investigation and the person making the statement is aware that the investigation is being conducted. The offense is classified under Texas Penal Code Section 37.08. Depending on the circumstances, making a false report can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which may result in up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. However, if the false report is regarding a missing child or missing person, the offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. In certain situations, if the false report leads to an emergency response, the offense can be prosecuted as a state jail felony, with more severe penalties. It's important for individuals to understand the gravity of making a false police report and the potential legal consequences that can follow.

Legal articles related to this topic