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False Information to an LEO / Giving a False Name or ID to LEO

During the course of a criminal investigation or an arrest, citizens have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If an alleged offender or other person of interest knowingly provides a law enforcement officer (LEO) or other authorities with false information, it can result in that person facing criminal charges.

Depending on the alleged offender’s criminal record and the nature of the crime being investigated, providing false information to police can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. In many cases, people may have only simply repeated things they heard from other sources without knowing that the information was false.

Lawyer for Giving False Information to Police in St. Petersburg, FL

Melinda Morris and Seth Shapiro are experienced criminal defense attorneys in St. Petersburg who represent clients all over Pasco County, Sarasota County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, and Manatee County. Call (727) 388-4736 today for an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Giving False Information to Police Crimes in Florida


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Penalties for False Information to Law Enforcement in Pinellas County

Under Florida Statute § 837.05, it is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if an alleged offender knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime. Such an offense, however, becomes a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if:

  • The alleged offender knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of a capital felony;
  • The alleged offender has previously been convicted of false reports to law enforcement authorities and the information that the person gave to the law enforcement officer was communicated orally and the officer’s account of that information is corroborated by an audio recording or audio recording in a video of that information, a written or recorded statement made by the person who gave that information, or another person who was present when that person gave that information to the officer and heard that information; or
  • The alleged offender has previously been convicted of false reports to law enforcement authorities and the information that the person gave to the law enforcement officer was communicated in writing.

Florida Statute § 837.055 also makes it a first-degree misdemeanor offense for an alleged offender to knowingly and willfully give false information to a law enforcement officer who is conducting a missing person investigation or a felony criminal investigation with the intent to mislead the officer or impede the investigation. If an alleged offender knowingly and willfully gives false information to a law enforcement officer who is conducting a missing person investigation involving a child 16 years of age or younger with the intent to mislead the officer or impede the investigation, and the child who is the subject of the investigation suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death, false information to law enforcement during investigation becomes a third-degree felony.


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Penalties for Giving False Name or ID to Police in in St. Petersburg

State law in Florida also prohibits people being arrested or lawfully detained from providing false names or identification (ID). Under Florida Statute § 901.36, it is a first-degree misdemeanor for an alleged offender who has been arrested or lawfully detained by a law enforcement officer to give a false name, or otherwise falsely identify him or herself in any way, to the law enforcement officer or any county jail personnel.

If another person is adversely affected by an alleged offender giving a false name or otherwise falsely identifying him or herself in any way to the law enforcement officer or any county jail personnel, the violations then becomes classified as a third-degree felony. In addition to possible imprisonment and fines, alleged offenders in these cases may also be ordered to pay restitution to the alleged victims.


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Florida Law Enforcement Resources

Criminal Investigations | Pinellas County Sheriff's Office — On this section of the sheriff’s website, you can learn more about how the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office handles criminal investigations. Find information about how to initiate an investigation or call about an existing case. You can find contact information for the office’s Criminal Investigations, Child Protection Investigations, Narcotics Division, and Victim Advocates.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
10750 Ulmerton Rd.
Largo, FL 33778
(727) 582-6200


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Morris Law Firm, P.A. | St. Petersburg Giving False Information to LEO Attorney

If you have been accused of allegedly providing any kind of false information to authorities in the Tampa Bay area, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. aggressively defends individuals in Dunedin, Pinellas Park, Largo, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas in Pinellas County.

As a former felony prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer Melinda Morris understands the most effective methods to get these types of criminal charges reduced or dismissed. She can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (727) 388-4736 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.


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