California Penal Code Section 148.9 PC: False Identification To Police

false identification crime

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Being stopped and questioned by a law enforcement officer can be an unsettling and unpleasant experience for many people, and there may be a temptation to provide false identification to the officer when asked, either because the person is trying to conceal their true identity or because they prefer to maintain their privacy. However providing False Identification to a Police Officer is a crime under California Penal Code Section 148.9 PC that could have long-lasting consequences for the defendant.

False Identification to a Police Officer requires the following elements:

  1. That a person knowingly and intentionally
  2. Provided a fake name or the name of another person to a police officer
  3. In order to avoid the court process or to avoid presenting proper identification to that officer

Providing False Identification can mean more than providing a false name to a requesting officer. A person can also be charged under the statute if they provide a false date of birth, or any other information that can be used to determine a person's identity.

2. Examples

A man is pulled over while driving because an officer suspects he is Driving Under the Influence in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and (b) VC. The man has an active warrant, and when asked to provide his name he makes up the fictitious name "Joe Blow" and tells the officer that is his name. This man could be prosecuted for Providing a False Identity to the Police in violation of Penal Code 148.9 PC.

If the man instead provides the name of his brother, and not a fictitious name, he could also be prosecuted for False Impersonation under California Penal Code Section 529 PC, because he represented himself to be another existing person, as opposed to a fake person.

3. Related Offenses

As discussed above, False Impersonation under California Penal Code Section 529 PC can apply if the defendant represents themselves as another actual living person. Additionally False Impersonation requires a further act besides providing the false name, such as signing a notice to appear in court, where False Identification only requires the defendant to provide the false name.

Other related offenses include:

  1. Resisting Arrest - California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC. Providing false or misleading identification information is considered "resisting arrest" under the statute.
  2. False Information to a Police Officer – California Vehicle Code Section 31 VC. This is a broader offense that makes it illegal to provide a false name, fake identification documents, or a fake vehicle registration to an officer.

4. Defenses to False Identification to Police Officers Charges

There may be a legitimate Mistake of Fact defense if the defendant did not realize that the person they were providing a false name to was a police officer. This may occur in undercover cases in which the officer is not clearly identifiable as a law enforcement officer.

5. Penalties

Providing False Identification to a Police Officer is a misdemeanor offense that can be punished by up to six months in jail and substantial court fines. In addition, this offense is considered a crime of dishonesty that could haunt a person for the rest of their lives. Someone convicted of this offense could be effectively prevented from providing credible testimony in the future and may be barred from certain professional licenses and employment opportunities.

6. Criminal Defense for False Identification to Police Cases

If you or someone you know has been accused of or charged with providing False Identification to a Police Officer, it is important that you meet with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. The act in question may have been based on an innocent mistake on your behalf, and an effective Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney may be able to intervene before charges have been filed to try and have the case rejected or significantly reduced. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to best defend charges of this nature.

For more information about False Identification to Police Officers, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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