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Why you should never lie to police officers

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Being arrested and interrogated by police officers is a terrifying experience for most people. Even if you are not arrested, simply being stopped and questioned by police officers can be incredibly stressful.

Even if you have not done anything wrong, you may be tempted to lie or hide certain facts from the officers to make yourself look better. You might be worried that if you tell them the truth, they might find something to arrest you for.

Alternatively, police officers could contact you to ask you questions about a friend or family member and you give false information to protect them.

This is a terrible idea for many reasons. You should never lie to police officers.

Lying to police is illegal under federal and state law

This may seem unfair since police officers can and do lie to suspects to obtain confessions, but the penalties for lying to police officers are serious. Under federal law, it is a criminal offense to do an of the following:

  • Falsify, conceal or cover up any material fact by any trick, scheme or device
  • Make any materially false or fraudulent statement
  • Make or use any false writing or document knowing it to be materially false or fraudulent

Additionally, under New York law, making an apparently sworn false statement in the second degree, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

You cannot afford the penalties for violating these laws

The penalties under either of these laws can be severe, including up to five years in prison under the federal law. The exact penalties depend on various factors, including the circumstances under which you lied, the seriousness of your false statement or if your false statement hurts anyone or endangers any lives.

Interacting with police officers is never fun and sometimes leads to nervous rambling, which police officers can use to catch you in a lie. If you find yourself facing charges for lying to police officers, there are many potential strategies and legal options you can pursue.


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