Individuals living in California can get in serious trouble if they lie to a police officer. This action can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 148.9: False Identification to Police. PC 148.9 is a misdemeanor charge that can have severe repercussions.
PC 148.9 can be a difficult charge to understand if you are working on your own. Fortunately, you can get the legal information you need about an accusation of false identification to police from the criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group.
The Definition of False Identification to Police in California
It is against the law to provide a police officer with false information about your identity in California. Individuals can face criminal charges if they lie to the police about their:
- Legal name
- Date of birth
- Any other identifying information
To be convicted under PC 148.9, a person must purposefully provide false information to a police officer. Individuals may provide this information in an attempt to avoid giving accurate information or to try to beat the court process.
People commonly try to provide false identification to police after being pulled over for violating California Vehicle Code 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or California Vehicle Code 23152(e): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.
However, PC 148.9 charges can apply anytime someone lies to a police officer about their identity. It might seem like a good idea not to give the officer your true identity at the moment. However, doing so will likely only result in putting you in even further trouble than the situation in which you currently find yourself.
An Example of a PC 148.9 Violation in California
Many people are not aware of how easy it is to violate PC 148.9. The following example shows a way that people could provide false identification to police in Los Angeles:
Man A is pulled over by a police officer while out driving with some friends after having a few drinks. Man A knows he already has a prior conviction for a DUI. He also knows that the penalties for another conviction will be more severe. Man A decides to claim he is one of the passengers driving with him, Man B. Man B does not have a prior DUI conviction, after all.
Man A asks Man B for his license. The police officer approaches the vehicle and asks to see Man A’s license and registration. Man A hands over Man B’s license and tries to pretend that he is Man B. The police officer is not convinced, and Man A ends up charged with a DUI and false identification to police.
Note that if Man A had succeeded and signed his ticket as Man B, he could be charged under California Penal Code 529: False Impersonation. False impersonation can be a more serious action that can even be charged as a felony in California.
False impersonation isn’t the only related crime you might face in connection to a false identification charge. Intentionally providing a police officer with inaccurate identification information is considered resisting arrest and can be charged under California Penal Code Section 148(a).
You could also face a charge under California Vehicle Code Section 31: False Information to a Police Officer. This offense is broader than the offense of false identification and includes acts such as:
- Providing a false name
- Providing false identification documents
- Providing a fake vehicle registration
Each additional charge carries the potential for extra penalties. It’s important to talk to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer about all of the charges the prosecution might bring against you. You need to know all the potential consequences you could face, as well as your options for fighting these charges.
Understanding the Penalties for a PC 148.9 Conviction
The courts in Los Angeles treat false identification to police as a misdemeanor charge. A conviction under PC 148.9 can lead to up to six months of time spent in jail. Individuals may also be forced to pay fines after a conviction. Beyond the direct penalties that come with an arrest for false identification, this charge can have lasting repercussions.
A charge of providing false identification is considered a “crime of dishonesty.” A conviction could disqualify you from providing credible testimony in the future. You could also find yourself unable to obtain certain professional licenses and face more limited career opportunities.
Note that individuals can face additional penalties if they are pulled over for a DUI or another serious crime. Lying to the police could cause the court to punish an individual more harshly for the crime of which they were initially accused.
Can a PC 148.9 Charge Be Expunged?
After a conviction under Penal Code 148.9, you can attempt to get the charge expunged from your record. Certain conditions must be met, in order to get a conviction expunged. You must have successfully completed probation or a jail term for the violation. Also, you must not currently be facing charges, on parole, or serving a sentence for another criminal offense.
After your probation or jail time has been served, you may attempt to get your record expunged and restore any rights you lost due to your conviction.
Does a PC 148.9 Charge Count as a Strike?
A conviction under Penal Code 148.9 will not count as a strike on your record.
Under California’s Three Strikes law, you can be sentenced to 25 years to life for three felony convictions. The convictions must be for violent or serious felonies or criminal acts in which a person suffers serious bodily harm. Fortunately, a violation of PC 148.9 is not considered serious, and can only be charged as a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Building a Legal Defense to False Identification to Police Charges
Many people are not sure how to go about defending themselves against charges for false identification to police. There are a number of legal defenses that can work to beat this charge. One common defense is that you did not know you were speaking to a police officer.
Lying is generally frowned upon in our society. However, there is a legal difference between lying to a police officer and lying to someone else. If you legitimately did not realize you were speaking with a police officer, you may be able to beat a PC 148.9 charge.
While this defense is unlikely to hold up in a traffic stop case, it can be very effective if the officer was undercover. This defense can also work if you were dealing with a plain-clothes detective who failed to properly identify themself.
Get the Help You Need to Handle Charges Under PC 148.9
Individuals who contact a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles will have a better chance of beating a PC 148.9 charge. It is important that you reach out to a legal professional right away if you or a family member has been accused of false identification to police.
If you’ve been accused of lying to the police, you can end up in serious legal trouble. The courts prosecute violations of California Penal Code Section 148.9: False Identification to Police very severely. You can get help handling this legal situation by contacting the Simmrin Law Group for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Let us focus on building your case. Complete our online contact form or give us a call to get started today.