Imagine you have been stopped by the police and you are asked to present your identity to that officer. In the event, you provide another identity to that officer other than your own actual identity, can you be charged with a crime?
California Penal Code Section 148.9 is labeled as false representation of identity to a peace officer. More specifically, Penal Code Section 148.9 (a) states that any person who falsely represents or identifies himself or herself as another person or as a fictitious persson to any peace officer...., upon a 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.
Certain elements need to be met for a person charged with PC 148.9 (a) to be found guilty of that offense. It is in fact the duty of the prosecutor to make certain all elements of the crime are met with the evidence from any police investigation. In Penal Code Section 148.9(a), the prosecutor must prove:
The person falsely represented himself or herself or the person identified himself or herself as somebody else.
There was in fact false representation or identity.
The false representation of identity was given upon a lawful detention or a lawful arrest.
The false repesentation or identity was given to the police for evasion, either to avoid further court process or evading being properly identified by the officer.
The crime is a misdemeanor in the event the person accused of it pleads guilty to the crime or is found guilty by a jury. A penalty for a misdemeanor can be up to 6 months in jail.
There are defenses to being charged with false representation of identity to a police officer. A defense can be that the police officer had not made a lawful detention or a lawful arrest. A person cannot simply be targeted by an officer and then be asked by the cop to hand over or give over one's identification.
Another defense can be that the identification provided was not given for an evasive purpose. If an individual did not understand what the officer was asking for when requested from the officer, it can be argued that evasion was not the purpose.
False information to a police officer is a crime and can if one is convicted of such a crime there can be consequences resulting from it including fines, fees, jail time, probation, and immigration consequences such as denial of legal residency or naturalization of citizenship as federal authorities such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, otherwise known as USCIS, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may treat such a crime as a crime of moral turpitude under the immigration laws of the U.S.
If you or a loved one are charged with such a crime, contact the Gonzalez Law Firm to speak to Attorney David Gonzalez before you go to court and definitely before you decide to plea guilty to any crime. You are innocent of any criminal charge until you are proven otherwise guilty by the prosecution. You have legal rights and defenses.
The Gonzalez Law Firm has offices in Santa Ana and Fullerton and assists clients throughout the Southern California region whether your case is in Newport Beach, Fullerton, Norwalk, Santa Ana, Pomona, Riverside, San Bernardino,West Covina, Downey or Los Angeles. Attorney David Gonzalez can be reached at 714-992-5217 or 1-877-345-2997.