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North Carolina Criminal Law 14-225: False Reports to Law Enforcement Agencies or Officers

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

False Reports to Law Enforcement Agencies or Officers Making a false report to law enforcement is a type of Obstruction of Justice and a criminal offense under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-225.

The offense can be a Misdemeanor or Felony, depending on the type false accusations or report, whether the allegations involve an alleged child disappearance, and/or child victim of a Class A, B1, B2, or C felony offense.

To prove that a Defendant guilty of False reports to law enforcement agencies or officers, pursuant to 14-225, the State must prove things like:

  1. The Defendant purposefully made a false report or statement
    • Unfounded report or Deliberately misleading report
  2. To a law enforcement agency or officer
  3. In order to interfere with the duties of a law enforcement agency or law enforcement officer

The key difference between misdemeanor and felony false police report is that to be a felony, the defendant’s false statement/report must pertain to a child disappearing or a child victim of a Class A, B1, B2, or C felony offense.

2. Examples of False Reports to Law Enforcement Agencies or Officers

Defendant loses his job and can no longer make car payments. He calls the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (“CMPD”) and reports his car stolen (larceny of motor vehicle). The Defendant further reports the felony larceny to his insurance company and makes a claim, hoping to get out of the monthly payments. Upon receiving an anonymous tip from a neighbor, CMPD finds the vehicle submerged in a pond on the Defendant’s property. The Defendant confesses to drunk driving and accidentally driving the car into the pond. The Defendant could be charged with filing a false police report, a Class 2 Misdemeanor. The Defendant could also be facing charges for Felony Insurance Fraud and Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretenses.

The Defendant is driving home from Uptown Charlotte and hits a pedestrian crossing the road on Trade Street. The Defendant had been drinking. Fearing he likely would blow over the legal limit and therefore be charged with DWI in Charlotte, the Defendant fails to stop, and tries to drive home in Matthews, N.C. The accident causes substantial damage to the vehicle. It will not run. The Defendant calls UBER for a ride home and leaves the scene without rendering aid. The next morning, knowing the pedestrian was likely badly injured, the Defendant calls the Matthews Police Department the next morning to report his car as being stolen. The Defendant could be facing charges of Felony Hit and Run, Felony Failure to Stop in Event of a Crash, Furnish Information, and/or Render Aid in violation of N.C.G.S. 20-166, as well as making a False Police Report.

The Defendant attacks her husband with a knife. To protect herself from criminal prosecution, she falsely reports to police her husband allegedly hit and threatened to kill her, adding she used a knife in self-defense. Due to the false allegations, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department arrest the Defendant’s husband, alleging Felony Assault by Strangulation and Assault on a Female. Law enforcement later determine the report was a case of false accusations. The Defendant may be charged with filing a False Police Report, a Class 2 Misdemeanor.

The Defendant Grandmother files a pro se lawsuit for “grandparents visitation rights,” alleging her son-in-law sexually abuses her grandchild. After protracted litigation, the Court, makes a Finding of Fact stating, “The grandmother has provided perjured testimony and has further made false allegations of child sexual abuse.” The Court denies visitation and any form of contact with the grandchild due in part to the false allegations. In anger, the Defendant calls the Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services (DSS), and the Pineville Police Department to report her grandchild is being physically abused, again making false accusations of sexual abuse against the minor child. Law enforcement officers investigate, confirming the improper allegations and prior litigation in family court. The officers also confirm the alleged dates of abuse, neglect, or dependency are the exact same as previously falsely alleged and adjudicated. The Defendant may be charged with filing a False Police Report, in this case, a Class H Felony offense because it involves an alleged child victim of a Class A, B1, B2, or C felony offense.

3. Related Offenses

Other related crimes offenses include:

  1. Making a False Report Concerning Mass Violence on Educational Property
  2. Interfering with Emergency Communication in North Carolina
  3. Should I Waive Probable Cause?
  4. Felonies and Misdemeanors Defined
  5. Obstruction of Justice Charges – NCGS 14-225
4. Defenses to Obstruction of Justice Charges

False Reports to Law Enforcement Agencies or Officers A Defendant may be able to challenge the elements of this offense with defenses such as mistake of fact, if the Defendant isn’t the person who made the false statement or obstructed justice, or if the statement was in fact true.

5. Penalties and Punishment for Making a False Police Report

False reports to law enforcement agencies or officers can be a Misdemeanor or a Felony charge depending on the facts and circumstances of the offense.

Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-277(a), filing a False Police Report is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 60 days in jail.

Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-277(b), filing a False Police Report is a Class H Felony, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 39 months in a state correctional facility.

The Misdemeanor and Felony Punishment Charts both provide for Active, Intermediate, and Suspended punishments.

6. Legal Counsel for False Reports to Law Enforcement Agencies or Officers

If you’ve been charged with making a false police report, it is important to contact an experienced defense attorney.

The team of criminal lawyers at Powers Law Firm PA offers free, confidential consultations for criminal charges.

CALL NOW 704-342-4357

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