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.