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Of the many things you should never say to a cop, a lie is near the top of the list -- especially if that lie is regarding a crime that was never committed. Filing a false police report can be a costly waste of time for law enforcement, not to mention a permanent stain on someone's reputation. And it might also land you in jail.
Almost every state makes false reporting of a crime its own criminal offense. And although the penalties can vary from state to state, they are all serious.
Although these definitions vary, each is misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
A unique kind of false report, "swatting" refers to calling 911 to someone else's residence and reporting an ongoing crime like a hostage situation. These pranks can be especially expensive, since the police are required to treat every call as an emergency, and often send S.W.A.T. and other heavily armed officers to respond.
Due to the rapid response and the number of officers involved, swatting can easily jump from a misdemeanor to a felony if someone is injured because of the false report or if you've been previously convicted of false reporting.
If you've been charged with false reporting or falsely accused of a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.