False Reports

State law in Florida makes it a criminal offense for a person to provide false information about a criminal offense to a law enforcement officer. Depending on the nature of the underlying crime, filing a false report or giving false information can be a misdemeanor or felony offense.

Prosecutors and judges alike take these types of criminal charges seriously because a person who provides authorities with misleading or inaccurate information make it more difficult for public officials to administer justice.

In some cases, people who are accused of providing false information may have been honestly mistaken about the truth, misremembered events, or inadvertently relayed inaccurate information that was provided by another party.

Lawyer for False Reports Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you believe you could be under investigation or you have already been arrested for allegedly filing a false report or providing false information to police in Broward County, it is in your best interest to say absolutely nothing to authorities until you have legal counsel.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends clients in Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, and many surrounding areas of South Florida.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences. Call (954) 716-8538 right now to let our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Broward County False Reports Information Center


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False Reports Penalties in Florida

Chapter 21.4 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions establishes that in order for a prosecutor to prove the crime of false report of commission of a crime as established under Florida Statute § 817.49, the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The alleged offender willfully gave or provided, or caused to be given or provided, false information or a report about the alleged commission of a crime under Florida law to the named law enforcement officer;
  • The alleged offender knew the information or report was false because he or she knew that no such crime had actually been committed;
  • The named law enforcement officer was a law enforcement officer; and
  • The alleged offender knew the named law enforcement officer was a law enforcement officer.

False reports of commission of crimes is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Florida Statute § 837.05 also establishes two crimes relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities.

A person commits the first-degree misdemeanor offense of giving false information concerning the commission of a crime under Florida Statute § 837.05(1)(a) when he or she knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime. Florida Statute § 837.05(1)(b), however, makes giving false information concerning the commission of a crime a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 when the alleged offender has been previously convicted of this crime and either the information the alleged offender gave to the law enforcement officer was communicated in writing, or the information the alleged offender gave to the law enforcement officer was communicated orally and the officer’s account of that information is corroborated by any of the following:

  • 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.

Under Florida Statute § 837.05(2), it is also a third-degree felony when an alleged offender knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of a capital felony.

Additionally, Florida Statute § 837.055(1) makes it a first-degree misdemeanor when an alleged offender knowingly and willfully gives 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 the 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, Florida Statute § 837.055(2) makes false information to law enforcement during investigation a third-degree felony.


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Related False Reports Crimes in Broward County

Prohibition against giving false name or false identification by person arrested or lawfully detained is established under Florida Statute § 901.36. If a person who has been arrested or lawfully detained by a law enforcement officer gives a false name, or otherwise falsely identifies him or herself in any way, to the law enforcement officer or any county jail personnel, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute § 901.36(1).

Florida Statute § 901.36(2) makes any violation of Florida Statute § 901.36(1) a third-degree felony when the violation results in another person being adversely affected by the unlawful use of his or her name or other identification. Courts can also order restitution when sentencing people for any violation of Florida Statute § 901.36.

Under Florida Statute § 918.13, it is illegal for any person, knowing that a criminal trial or proceeding or an investigation by a duly constituted prosecuting authority, law enforcement agency, grand jury, or legislative committee is pending or is about to be instituted, to do either of the following:

  • Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation; or
  • Make, present, or use any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false.

A violation of Florida Statute § 918.13 is a third-degree felony.


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Florida False Reports Resources

Standard Jury Instructions Criminal Cases | Florida Supreme Court | Chapter 21: Obstruction of Justice — Visit this website to download the standard jury instructions for various obstruction of justice offenses relating to false reports. Chapters 21.4-21.8 cover false reports of commissions of crime, giving false information concerning the commission of a crime, giving false information concerning the commission of a capital felony, giving false name or identification to law enforcement officer adversely affecting another, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. All instructions list the required elements that a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.


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Find a False Reports Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Were you arrested or do you think you might be under investigation for allegedly providing false information to a law enforcement officer in South Florida? Make sure that you contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. before you make any statement to authorities.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale who represent individuals in communities all over the greater Broward County area, such as Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, and many others.

You can have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (954) 716-8538 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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