It is illegal in Nevada to report a crime to police knowing it to be false. The judge may impose fines and jail, and future employers may pass over the defendant for a job just for having a conviction. But a skilled Las Vegas defense attorney may be able to get the case dropped entirely.
This article explains the Nevada offense of false reporting of a crime. Scroll down further to learn the law, defense strategies, and penalties in Las Vegas.
The legal definition of "false reporting of a crime" in Las Vegas, Nevada, prohibits knowingly making a false report to law enforcement that a crime has occurred, which causes law enforcement to conduct a criminal or internal investigation.
Note that the report can be made by any means such as orally, through writing or electronic communication. Also note that NRS 207.280 applies when the defendant allegedly makes the report to any of the following members of law enforcement:
- police officer
- district attorney or deputy district attorney
- sheriff or deputy sheriff
- any member of the Nevada Department of Public Safety
A common scenario where this law comes into play in Las Vegas is when an angry spouse lies to the police about the other spouse committing the Nevada crime of battery domestic violence. If the police investigate and determine that the reporting spouse wasn't being truthful, prosecutors may press charges for the false reporting of a crime.
There are several ways an attorney may defend against an allegation of violating NRS 207.280 in Nevada. Below are the more common defenses:
- No deliberateness: It's illegal to report a crime only if the person reporting it knew it was false. So if the defendant honestly believed that a crime had been committed and was acting in good faith, no law has been broken.
- No investigation: A person should not be convicted of false crime reporting unless the police took the initiative to investigate the matter. So if a defense attorney can show that law enforcement commenced no investigation into the crime report, the case should be dismissed.
- Lack of evidence: In every criminal case, the D.A. has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. This is a very high standard, and it may be difficult for the D.A. to produce sufficient evidence that demonstrates the defendant knew the crime report was false. As long as the D.A. fails to meet this burden of proof, the defendant is not criminally liable.
The Las Vegas offense of false reporting of a crime is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The sentence for a misdemeanor in Nevada includes a punishment of:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines
Upon conviction, the defendant would have to wait one (1) year before he/she can petition the court to get the criminal record sealed. But if the defendant gets acquitted or the case gets dismissed, the defendant may petition to seal the record right away. Learn more about sealing Nevada criminal records.
Arrested? Call . . . .
If you've been accused of making a false crime report under NRS 207.280, Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) can meet with you for a free consultation. They may be able to get the case dismissed through negotiations. Otherwise, they're ready to fight for a "not guilty" verdict at trial.
Also see our article on the Nevada crime of obstructing a police officer.
To learn about what to do if you're falsely accused of a crime in California, go to our article on what to do if you're falsely accused of a crime in California.