Many people may think that lying to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)
is no big deal, but in California it is misdemeanor crime punishable by
up to 6 months in county jail as well as a $1000 fine. California Vehicle
Code section 20 states “It is unlawful to use a false or fictitious name; to knowingly make any
false statement; or conceal any material fact in any document filed with
the DMV or the Department of the California Highway patrol.”
- Examples: John Kirby applies for a driver's license at the California
DMV but instead of giving his real name, he gives them a fictitious name,
or gives a false date of birth, or when he is asked on the DMV application
whether he has any serious medical conditions, he answers “no”
when in fact he suffers from epilepsy. John is scared of being denied
a driver's license so he omits that information.
Can Giving False Statements To the DMV Be Charged As A Felony?
Depending on the specifics of the false statements made or materials provided,
this may also be considered a form of perjury (Lying under oath). If the
false statements were made orally or in writing under penalty of perjury
then that person could be prosecuted for felony perjury. California Penal
Code section 118 makes it a crime to deliberately provide false information
or otherwise lie while under oath. Perjury is prosecuted as a felony in
California and a conviction could result in a state prison sentence of
2 to 4 years as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
What Are Some Other Related Offenses?
There are several other related offenses that can be charged in connection
with and in addition to California Vehicle Code section 20:
False Information To A Police Officer - California Vehicle Code section 31 makes it illegal to knowingly provide
false information to a police officer. This offense is a misdemeanor punishable
by up to 6 months in county jail. Examples include giving a false date
of birth or home address to a police officer.
Giving/Providing False Identification To A Police Officer – California Penal Code section 148.9 makes it a crime for any person
to falsely represent or identify himself/herself as another person or
as a fictitious person to a police officer. This offense is a misdemeanor
punishable by up to 180 days in county jail. Examples include giving a
fake name or giving a peace officer a phony driver's license.
Fraudulent Vehicle Registration - California Vehicle Code section 4463 makes it illegal to intentionally
forge, alter, or falsify vehicle registrations, license plates, or pink
slips. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending
on the specifics of your particular case, as well as your criminal history.
For a misdemeanor conviction you could face up to 1 year in county jail
as well as a maximum $1,000 fine. A felony conviction would result in
up to 3 years in a California state prison as well as a maximum fine of $10,000.
Filing A False Police Report - California Penal Code section 148.5 makes it a crime to knowingly file
a false crime report. This offense is prosecuted as a misdemeanor and
punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a $1000 fine. Examples
of this include: making a crime report stating that your neighbor hit
his wife when in fact it never occurred; filing a claim with the police
that a certain individual vandalized your car which in fact never occurred;
or claiming your car was stolen when in fact you loan it to your best
friend and he wrecked the car.
Skilled and Experienced Criminal Lawyers
Our criminal defense lawyers have the skill and experience to defend against
charges of giving false information to the California DMV as well as the
police. Give us a call and schedule a no-cost in person consultation to
learn what legal options are available to you.