What you need to know about California Vehicle Code 31

Imagine a scenario where you’re pulled over for a routine traffic check, and in the heat of the moment, you give incorrect details to the police officer. This act, seemingly trivial at the moment, can carry substantial legal consequences.

If found guilty of providing false statements or information under the California Vehicle Code 31, you can face fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in county jail. If you or someone you know has been accused of providing false information to a police officer, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you review the facts of your case and fight your charges.

What is ‘Giving false statements or information to a police officer?’

California Vehicle Code Section 31 (VC 31) states that no person shall give, either orally or in writing, false information or falsely represent his or her identity to any peace officer listed in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2. For example, giving a false name, presenting a fake ID, or lying about your age or address would be considered as giving false statements or information to a police officer under this provision.

The critical elements of this offense are:

  1. The accused gave false information or falsely represented their identity.
  2. The recipient was a peace officer performing their duties.
  3. The accused knew that the recipient was a peace officer.

For a person to be convicted under VC 31, the prosecution must prove all these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

Penalties for giving false statements to police in California

A conviction under VC 31 is a misdemeanor. Its penalties can include, but are not limited to:

  • A fine up to $1,000.
  • Imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months.
  • Both a fine and imprisonment.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

These penalties are not mutually exclusive and can have lasting impacts on a person’s professional and personal life.

Defenses against charges under California VC 31

While the potential consequences of a VC 31 conviction can be daunting, certain defenses may be employed to contest the charges. Some of these include:

  • The information given was not false, or the accused did not knowingly give false information.
  • The recipient of the information was not a peace officer or was not performing their duties.
  • The accused had no reason to believe that the recipient was a peace officer.

While these defenses can be effective, each case is unique and requires a comprehensive evaluation. Therefore, it is crucial to have a seasoned defense attorney to guide you through the legal process. Robert M. Helfend, with years of experience in defending such charges, can provide you with the legal assistance you require.

Being charged under California Vehicle Code 31 can be a stressful and challenging situation. It can have serious ramifications if not addressed correctly. Call attorney Robert M. Helfend at 800-834-6434 for a free case review and to begin building your defense.