blog home Criminal Defense What Happens When You Don’t Give a Police Officer Your Real Name?

What Happens When You Don’t Give a Police Officer Your Real Name?

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on February 15, 2022

False identification to a police officer is illegal under California Penal Code Section 148.9. The law states, “Any person who falsely represents or identifies himself or herself as another person or as a fictitious person to any peace officer . . . upon lawful detention or arrest of the person, either to evade the process of the court, or to evade the proper identification of the person by the investigating officer is guilty of a misdemeanor. . .”

You can be charged with a crime for lying to the police about your legal name, birth date, or any other identifying information. To be convicted under PC 148.9, you must have purposefully provided false information to a police officer. False identification can be compounded with any other charges you may be facing.

What Are the Penalties for Providing False Identification to a Police Officer in California?

The offense of false identification is charged as a misdemeanor in California. Penalties upon conviction may include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. If you were pulled over for another crime, such as DUI, you may face harsher for that offense for lying to the police.

In addition, false identification is considered a “crime of dishonesty.” In the future, a conviction of this category of crime could disqualify your from providing credible testimony, prevent you from obtaining certain professional licenses, and limit your career opportunities.

What Must the Prosecution Prove to Convict You?

To obtain a conviction under PC 148.9, the prosecution must show that you:

  • Falsely represented yourself as another person or as a fictitious person: (This could mean providing a false date of birth rather than a false name.)
  • To a person you knew or should have known was a police officer: (This element is determined on a case-by-case basis according to what a reasonable person would know.)
  • While that officer was engaged in the performance of his or her lawful duties: (If false identification occurred after an unlawful arrest, you are not guilty under the law.)
  • To evade the process of the court or proper identification of yourself.

What Are the Legal Defenses Against Falsely Reporting Identity to a Police Officer?

Defenses raised by our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will depend on the circumstances of your case. Possible defenses may include the following:

  • You did not know you were speaking to a police officer: (This defense may apply if the officer was in plain clothes.)
  • The identification was given by mistake.
  • It was the product of an unlawful detention, arrest, or consensual encounter.

Why Is It Important to Seek the Services of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?

California courts prosecute violations of PC 148.9 severely. If you are facing charges of false identification, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Your best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome is to have strong legal representation in your case.

Why Choose Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP?

Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience and a history of success defending clients in criminal matters. Mark Werksman is a former Deputy District Attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney who has been practicing criminal law since 1986. Alan Jackson is a former prosecutor and Assistant Head Deputy for the Major Crimes Division of the LA County District Attorney’s Office. Kelly Quinn is a certified specialist in writs and appeals.

Call us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation if you have been charged with false identification. We pride ourselves on providing the absolute best legal criminal defense available for every client.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense