R. Todd Bennett, P.C. Board Certified, Criminal Law. Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
Board Ceritified by Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law
The Best Lawyers In America
AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
Rated by Super Lawyers R. Todd Bennett, selected in 2005. Thomson Reuters.
Banner Attr

Could I face criminal charges for making a false statement?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Being questioned by the police makes almost everyone nervous. Your anxiety in the situation could cause confusion over dates, times, places and other facts about which you are being questioned.

This may lead you to make a false statement or provide misinformation to the police. This is not unusual when people are under pressure or worried about protecting themselves or someone else.

Why do people make false statements?

There are many reasons people provide false information to the police or make false accusations toward someone else. They might want to shift the officer’s focus to someone else or not understand the repercussion of giving the false statement.

The problem is that you can be criminally charged and even go to jail in Texas for making a false statement or providing false information to police officers or court officials. The crime you could be charged with is intentionally making a false statement to law enforcement officers.

This crime is a misdemeanor. However, a conviction comes with potential penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

When does the charge become a felony?

If the false statement you make is in court while you are under oath, you could be charged with the felony crime of aggravated perjury. The statement must be one that is material, or important, to the outcome of the court proceedings.

Aggravated perjury is a felony with potential penalties of between two and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Facing these charges can be terrifying if you did not intend to make a false statement. Fortunately, this can be used as a defense against the charge.

A conviction for making false accusations or providing false information to law enforcement or court officials requires prosecutors to prove that you knew that what you were saying was false and intended to deceive people.

Perhaps the statement you made was one that you believed to be true at the time and was later discovered to be false as new information came out. Maybe you gave the information believing it was true and later learned it was false.

What can I do?

Your best option in this situation is to contact the police officers and correct your statement as soon as possible. Evidence that you corrected the statement might be a defense to any criminal charge.

Additionally, remember that you have a right to remain silent if you are arrested. People often give false information after an arrest because they are afraid of telling the truth if it will incriminate them.

However, lying is only going to make the situation worse. If the truth is going to incriminate you, stay silent.

Overall, do not panic if you are accused of making a false statement due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication. It happens and is not uncommon. You have rights and there are many potential defenses that may be available to you.


FindLaw Network