When police are investigating a crime or even just asking a question, Floridians usually do not have to tell them anything.
However, if someone does agree to talk to law enforcement, they must make sure the information they give them is truthful.
Even if people know better, it can be tempting to lie to investigators in order to protect a loved one or even to save one’s job or professional standing. There may be some situations where it seems that the risk of lying is just worth it.
Lying to an officer who is either looking for a missing person or conducting a felony investigation can be a misdemeanor offense.
If a person gives testimony in a criminal case under oath that is not true, they might face a more serious perjury charge. Perjury is a felony offense under Florida law and can lead to a five-year prison sentence.
In addition to criminal penalties, someone accused of lying to law enforcement may lose professional and other opportunities. These sorts of charges do get filed in white collar investigations and in investigations involving official corruption. Those on the receiving end of them may find their careers and professional reputations ruined.
Florida residents accused of lying to police may need a strong defense
Unfortunately, police and prosecutors sometimes accuse people of lying to them unfairly.
In too many cases, officials make what may have at worst been a careless mistake out into as if it were a lie or a trick. Sometimes, even the nature of an investigator’s question can confuse someone into giving a wrong answer.
As with any other criminal case, Floridians have the right to insist that prosecutors prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt and to do so strictly in line with the law. Those facing charges related to lying to officials should make sure they understand their options.