How serious is filing a false police report?

Filing a false police report may seem harmless, but it can result in serious charges. There are many reasons people make false claims to officers.

One of the responsibilities of law enforcement is to take seriously any claim that is filed, whether truthful or not. If a person gives false information to police officers, it may harm people or result in other unforeseen consequences. Filing a false police report can also result in serious criminal penalties for North Carolina residents.

What are some of the reasons people might file a false report? The following are common examples:

  • Telling police officers a false story to conceal a real one that they fear will lead to being charged with a crime
  • Attempting to cover up something they do not want their family members to find out about
  • Trying to gain sympathy
  • Hoping to "get back" at someone they are angry with

For example, someone might tell police that they were robbed, in an attempt to explain injuries they received while breaking into a store or simply being out past curfew. They might think a good story could gain them attention or favors from their friends and family. They might be upset enough with someone to falsely make allegations of abuse. It is also possible that some people might want to tell law enforcement a false story, thinking of it as a harmless prank.

Man falsely claims to have chased notorious North Carolina clown

In a recent example, a man received charges of filing a false police report after he told Winston-Salem authorities that a clown knocked on his window and he chased it, reported WHIO News. Over the past few weeks, people from several North Carolina communities have been reporting disturbing sightings of clowns, only for law enforcement to find no leads. In Greenville, some residents claimed that people dressed as clowns were attempting to lure children into the woods. The man who claimed to have been approached by a clown later admitted the story had been false, and he was arrested. The reasons he fabricated the story were unclear. Authorities say that false reports make it more difficult to understand what actually happened and to distinguish between which claims are credible and which are not.

Penalties for filing a false report

Filing a false or misleading police report in North Carolina can result in misdemeanor charges. It is a felony to file a false report if it pertains to a child victim or a child disappearance case.

Many times, people may tell a fabricated story without realizing the full scope of the consequences they face. They may feel like they face more trouble if the truth is known, instead of making up a cover story. Some enjoy the thrill of playing a prank and do not understand that lying to an officer can get them in serious trouble. Those who are facing criminal charges may need to speak with an experienced defense attorney in Charlotte.