Individuals in California are legally required to speak honestly when they are communicating with peace officers. In fact, providing a peace officer with dishonest information can lead to criminal charges under California Vehicle Code Section 31: False Information to a Peace Officer.
You can get help understanding this section of California’s Vehicle Code with the Simmrin Law Group. Find out more about the exact definition of providing false information to a peace officer, common penalties for a conviction, and some examples of legal defenses.
Focus on the Legal Definition of VC 31
A VC 31 violation can occur anytime an individual knowingly gives false information to a peace officer. False information can be conveyed orally or in writing for a VC 31 charge to apply. VC 31 accusations could be made if someone:
- Shows a Peace Officer a Fake ID
- Lies to a Peace Officer in Reply to Any Question
- Offers Forged Insurance Information or Vehicle Registration
- Provides a False Name to a Peace Officer
Note that some of these situations can overlap with other criminal charges used in the state of California. In some instances, an individual could face similar charges under:
- California Penal Code Section 148.9: False Identification to Police
- California Penal Code Section 470(a): Forgery of a Driver’s License
- California Penal Code Section 470(b): Possessing a Fake Driver’s License
- California Vehicle Code Section 20: Providing False Statements to the DMV or CHP
A conviction for any of these charges can end up leading to serious repercussions.
Examples of Providing False Information to a Peace Officer
Strengthen your understanding of VC 31 charges by going over the following examples:
Man A is pulled over for speeding by a peace officer in California. Man A does not have a legitimate driver’s license. Instead, he uses a forged license when operating his vehicle. He offers the forged license to the peace officer. He could be charged under VC 31 for knowingly offering a fake ID to a peace officer.
Man B gets stopped by a peace officer after driving recklessly. He is driving in his wife’s car and did not know that his wife was using fake insurance documents. He offers the insurance information to the peace officer and the forgery is discovered. He should not be convicted under VC 31 because he did not know he was providing false information to the peace officer.
Possible Penalties for a VC 31 Conviction in California
Individuals who are accused of providing false information to a peace officer can end up facing serious penalties if they are convicted. California’s court system treats VC 31 violations as misdemeanors in criminal court. A conviction can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
You can reduce the odds that you will be convicted under VC 31 by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as you are charged.
Building a Defense for VC 31 Charges in California
A professional legal team can help you handle accusations that you provided false information to a peace officer in California. Your lawyer can go over the specifics of your case and dig into the facts surrounding your charges. Depending on your situation, a criminal defense lawyer could argue:
You Accidentally Provided False Information
Individuals in California should only be convicted of providing false information to a peace officer if they acted intentionally. Unknowingly offering false information should not lead to a criminal conviction. This means that if you are repeating false information that you thought was truthful, you should not be convicted under VC 31.
There is Not Enough Evidence Against You
It is up to the prosecution to prove that you are guilty of providing false information to a peace officer. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can work to block any evidence against you to weaken the prosecution’s case. In some cases, this can ensure the charges you are facing are dropped.
Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle VC 31 Charges
Getting professional help handling California Vehicle Code Section 31: False Information to a Peace Officer charges can be as easy as contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You can speak with our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles today to get a FREE case evaluation about your specific situation. Building a defense right away can improve your odds of beating the charges you are facing.
Focus on building a defense for VC 31 charges by calling us at (310) 896-2723, or completing our online contact form.