You think you may be in trouble – the kind of legal trouble that could end up with jail time, a destroyed career and maybe even a divorce. You just want a little time to think and a chance to talk to someone about your options.
You’re not prepared, then, when a federal agent knocks on your door and asks to speak with you. In a panic, you tell them that they’ve mistaken you for someone else and you’re not the person they need to see. When pressed, you give them a name you made up on the spot – or maybe you give them your brother’s name, instead.
Maybe you bought yourself a little more time before you’re confronted again, but you’ve also just bought yourself more legal problems.
Giving the police a false name is considered obstruction of justice
You cannot lie to the police during an investigation because that is considered an obstruction of justice. Whether you’re called out right away, or it takes a day or two for the authorities to realize what you’ve done and verify your identity, you can be charged with:
- A misdemeanor offense for giving the officer a fictitious name or other identifying information, including a fictitious birthdate
- A gross misdemeanor offense for giving the officer someone else’s identifying information, including their name
If convicted of a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine – even if you’re innocent of every other suspicion, the authorities may have. If you’re convicted of a gross misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to an entire year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
People who find themselves mixed up in something illegal can make their situations much worse when they panic. The wisest thing you can do is to get experienced legal guidance as fast as possible – so that your defense can be managed from the start.