Here are tips about what works and does not work:
- What does not work: When you wake up, you are shocked to discover your car windows bashed in. When the police show up, you tell them that you heard the glass breaking at 5:42 in the morning and saw your neighbor running back into his garage with a baseball bat. When the police cross the street to question him, you think, “Sucker! That will teach you to sneak your trash into my garbage can!”
This line of reasoning is not going to impress the judge when you appear in court to answer charges for filing a false police report. Intentionally giving false information to the police, a social worker or therapist is a Class B misdemeanor in Utah with potential jail time and fines. You can also get in trouble if you put false information on a license application or lie under questioning after you committed a crime.
- What works: Citizens are encouraged to report information about criminal activity to the authorities. If you tell the police your version of an event and it turns out that your eyewitness testimony was wrong or distorted, this cannot be held against you as long as you made your report in good faith.
Some people file false reports because they crave attention. Others make false accusations maliciously to harm another person or even for some kind of personal gain like insurance money. If you do so, you risk having a criminal offense on your record.
If you are charged with making a false statement or report, the best course of action is to sit down with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can give you some straight talk about the best options for resolving the situation.