Bystander in Alleged DUI Crash Makes False Statements (CA Penal Code 148.5)

You’ve most likely already heard of 44-year-old driver (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused). The man who was stopped on charges of DUI in Colma and then arrested for felony counts of bribery, forgery, and giving a false report to police.  Here’s the brief story:  He had already been convicted once on DUI charges in the past; he was involved in a car crash in August of 2012, but claims that he was not the one driving.  After the crash, he felt as if he needed a witness to the fact that he was not the driver, so he approached a nearby house and got a signed statement from someone there who had witnessed the crash.  However, that witness later claimed that their signature had been forged and that the driver had tried to bribe them into signing the document when, in fact, they had witnessed no such thing.

The driver was cleared of all charges recently, as expert testimony was able to prove that the document was not a forgery and that the defendant had been telling the truth the entire time.  In fact, it would not be surprising if charges are brought against the resident for making false statements to the police. It would also not be out of the ordinary for the driver himself to sue for damages against this person in civil proceedings, considering what he had to go through because of this individual’s decision to lie to authorities.

If you make a false report concerning a crime, then you could be subject to penalties pursuant to California Penal Code 148.5 (“Making a False Report of a Crime”).  Whether you volunteer false information or offer it as part of a report to a police officer, lawyer, or 911 operator, you could be accused of this crime if you purposefully give incorrect information.  This crime is considered a misdemeanor in California and, if convicted, you could spend up to 6 months in county jail.