Is it a Crime to Lie to the Police?

Understandably, speaking to law enforcement officers in New Jersey can be a nerve-wracking experience. While these encounters can be stressful as you fear the long-lasting consequences of a conviction, you should remain calm and composed. In some cases, individuals may react impulsively and either outright lie or omit the truth to expedite the conclusion of the interaction. However, deliberately providing law enforcement agents with false information is a serious crime. Giving inaccurate information to the police is illegal because of the potentially damaging effects of such actions. If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help defend your rights. Please continue reading to learn why lying to law enforcement in New Jersey is illegal. 

Is it Illegal to Lie to the Police in New Jersey?

Whether you’re filing a police report or being questioned by the police, it’s illegal to lie to law enforcement officials. New Jersey has adopted various laws to ban lying or providing false information to law enforcement agents. If you’ve said anything to law enforcement officers that isn’t the total and complete truth, you’ve broken the law in New Jersey.

In some cases, an individual will lie to the police by providing fake identification or providing them with a false alibi. Whatever the case may be, this is considered an obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice is defined as “a person purposely obstructing, impairing or perverting the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function using flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or using any independently unlawful act.” This offense is a crime of the fourth degree and a disorderly person’s offense.

Furthermore, some people may give the police false information to impede another’s arrest. However, this is illegal. It’s also unlawful to intentionally lie to law enforcement agents to implicate another person in a crime or file a false police report. Therefore, regardless of whether you lie to help or harm another person, providing false information to the police is illegal.

Why is it illegal to provide false information to the police?

In New Jersey, it’s illegal to provide false information to the police because of the damage effects these actions often have. If you deliberately lie to the police, it can lead to an innocent person being arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. Lying to the police can upend another person’s life. If you file a false police report and name an innocent person as a perpetrator, that accusation will haunt them for the rest of their life, as it can tarnish their reputation. In addition, giving false information to the police can harm your defense if you’re charged with a crime, as you will lose credibility.

If you’re facing criminal charges in New Jersey, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined Bergen County criminal defense attorney, who can help you devise a robust legal strategy that maximizes your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.