False Report Law & Legal Definition


A false report is a crime governed by federal and state laws, which vary by state, involving a person who, with intent to deceive, knowingly makes a false statement that is material to the criminal investigation of a crime and makes the statement to a peace officer or law enforcement official.

The following is an example of a jury instruction dealing with false reports:

Any person who makes a [false report] [false statement] to a law enforcement officer is guilty of a crime.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this offense, the state must have proven beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of the following essential elements:

  1. that the [report] [statement] was made by the defendant;
  2. that the [report] [statement] was made in response to a legitimate inquiry by a law enforcement officer; and
  3. that the [report] [statement] concerned a material fact about an [offense] [incident] within the officer's concern; and
  4. that the defendant knew that such [report] [statement] was false; and
  5. that the [report] [statement] was made by the defendant with the intent to obstruct or hinder the officer from either:

(A) Preventing the [offense] [incident] from [occurring] [continuing to occur]; or

(B) Apprehending or locating another person suspected of committing an offense.

"Law enforcement officer" is defined as any officer, employee or agent of government who has a duty imposed by law to:

(A) maintain public order; or

(B) make arrests for offenses, whether that duty extends to all offenses or is limited to specific offenses; and

(C) investigate the commission or suspected commission of offenses.

"Knowingly" means that a person acts knowingly with respect to the conduct or to circumstances surrounding the conduct when the person is aware of the nature of the conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of the person's conduct when the person is aware that the conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.

The requirement of "knowingly" is also established if it is shown that the defendant acted intentionally.

"Intentionally" means that a person acts intentionally with respect to the nature of the conduct or to a result of the conduct when it is the person's conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.