Maryland has a variety of criminal false statement and false reporting laws, covering multiple varieties of making a false report or statement to police officers, and other officials. The best way to avoid running afoul of these laws is to simply not speak, and to assert your fifth amendment right to remain silent. Unfortunately, if you are already facing criminal charges for a Maryland false statement or false report offenses, you are going to need my help to resolve your case in a way that keeps your record clean and you out of jail.
Not every false statement to a police officer is a criminal offense. There are many limits in Maryland on the ability to punish a false statement or false report criminally. I can use these limits to either get your charges dropped before trial, or to win at trial.
The maximum penalty for these Maryland false statement and false reporting laws are misdemeanors punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $500, with the exception of bomb threats which are felonies and are treated much more harshly. Unfortunately, the consequences of being convicted of these offenses is somewhat worse than it might be for another crime with a similar maximum because they reflect negatively on your credibility and honesty. They also can be used against you in future court proceedings if you testify, or at sentencing. Employers and others can view these offenses as similar a theft in that they make you appear to be less trustworthy, and therefore less employable.
False Statement or Report to Law Enforcement Officer
It is a crime in Maryland to knowingly make a false statement or report to a law enforcement officer with the intent to cause an investigation or other action to be taken as a result of the false statement or report. Making a false statement or a false report to an officer is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $500.
Even if your statement was false, false report charges require a specific intent, and the charging officer may ignore the intent of the person charged, an oversight which I can sometimes use to get the charges dropped later.
False Statement When Under Arrest
It is a criminal offense in Maryland to make a false statement when under arrest about your name, address, or date of birth. You are not required to give that information while under arrest, but failing to provide your name, address, and date of birth after being arrested can lead to problems getting bail, making it generally a good idea to provide that information if you are arrested.
In cases where making a false statement under arrest is charged it can often be disputed when exactly when the person was arrested and when the false statement was made.
False Statement to a Public Official Concerning a Crime or Hazard
It is a crime in Maryland to make a false statement or report to an official that a crime has been committed or that a hazard to public safety exists with the intent that the official investigate or take action in connection with the false statement or report.
These charges can be filed in bomb threat cases, but depending on the exact nature of the threat and how or if it is carried out, other more serious charges may be filed as well. Bomb threats can also be charged as a felony punishable by 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties for False Statement and False Report
All the above charges are punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine of $500.
False Statements Concerning a Destructive Device or Toxic Material (Bomb Threats)
False statements concerning destructive devices (bomb threats), or releases of toxic material, are much more significant offenses than other false statements, and have much higher maximums. These false statement offenses are punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of $10,000, plus restitution to whatever jurisdiction incurred costs responding to the threat and searching for the device, and restitution for any losses that resulted from the evacuation of the property. They can also cause a license suspension of 6 months for a minor, and a suspension of 1 year for a subsequent offense.
You do not have to have your record and your reputation ruined by these charges. Call me at (301) 556‑8709, because I can help you beat these charges and keep your record clean.