What If a Cop Gets Caught Writing a False Report?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 05, 2012 | 0 Comments

Police officers in California generate thousands of police reports every day. Most cops strive to be as accurate and truthful as possible.

But we all know that police sometimes lie. They lie in their crime reports. They lie on the witness stand in court. Usually, they get away with it. But not always.

What happens when an officer gets caught making false statements in his/her police report?

For starters, the cop will likely face disciplinary action from the department. This could range from a warning, to suspension, to termination and loss of pension benefits.

There's also the possibility of criminal prosecution. If the officer lies under oath at a proceeding, or lies under oath in a sworn police report, the D.A could file perjury charges. Perjury is a felony in California and carries up to four years state prison.

Even if the report is not under oath, the D.A. could still file charges under Penal Code 118.1 – police officers filing false reports. This section makes it a crime for a police officer to make a false statement about a criminal matter in any police report, regardless of whether the report is submitted under oath.

Under the California crime of Penal Code 118.1 - police officers filing false reports, can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony, and a conviction carries up to three years in state prison.

It's true that prosecutors rarely file criminal charges against police officers for misconduct in the line of duty. But the existence of these laws should serve as a deterrent to any officer from making false statements in reports or in court. (Also refer to our article, "Can I sue the police in California?"

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370