The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with False Statement allegations throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
Make a False or Misleading Statement to a Public Servant is often confused with the allegation of False Reporting. However, they are two different criminal law allegations with different elements required for a valid charge. Both are classified as Gross Misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine upon a conviction.
Making a False or Misleading Statement to a Public Servant
Making a False or Misleading Statement to a Public Servant is the knowing making of a false or misleading material statement to a public servant. “Material Statement” is defined as a written or oral statement reasonably likely to be relied upon by a public servant in the discharge of his or her official duties.
“Public servant” means any person other than a witness who presently occupies the position of or has been elected, appointed or designated to become any officer or employee of government, including a legislator, judge, judicial officer, juror and any person participating as an advisor, consultant or otherwise in performing a governmental function. This definition is quite expansive, including many more persons than typically considered law enforcement officers.
“Discharge of Official Powers or Duties” is also quite broad, although not defined by statute. In general, as long as the public servant is operating in good faith, even if correct, courts will uphold the action.
A prosecutor must prove that a person charged knew that the statement was false, and that it was material.
In contrast, the making of a false report does not have to be to a public servant or other law enforcement official. False reporting is, with knowledge that the information reported, conveyed or circulated is false, the initiation or circulation of a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe or emergency while knowing that such false report is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or transportation facility, or to cause public inconvenience or alarm.
“A person is guilty of false reporting if he or she:
- A. Initiates or circulates a written or oral report or warning of an alleged or impending occurrence of a fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe, or emergency knowing that such report contains false information and knowing that such report is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or transportation facility, or to cause substantial public inconvenience or alarm; or
- B. Makes, files or causes to be filed with a public officer of the City a written report, statement, application, citation or complaint which he knows to contain a misstatement of a material fact; or
- C. Makes a verbal statement relating to a crime, catastrophe, or emergency to a Seattle Police officer or a Seattle Police Department 911 emergency operator, knowing that such statement contains a misstatement of a material fact; or
- D. Gives false written or oral identification to a Seattle Police officer when such officer is investigating a crime or possible crime, executing a search or arrest warrant, issuing a citation or notice of infraction or making an arrest, knowing that such identification is false.”
Bellingham has adopted the RCW into its municipal code, as have Lynnwood and Marysville, among others, while Everett’s EMC 10.12.160 has the crime of “Initiating false report.”
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with Making a False Statement and False Reporting offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.