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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Sex Crimes > The Consequences of Giving a False Name to the Police

The Consequences of Giving a False Name to the Police


You always have a constitutional right not to answer questions asked by the police in connection with the investigation of a crime, or even a possible crime. But the right to remain silent is not a right to lie. You should never give false or misleading information to the police. Not only are most officers trained to spot such lies, but you can be charged with a crime for lying even if you are innocent of any other offense.

Under Georgia law, anyone who “gives a false name, address, or date of birth to a law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties with the intent of misleading the officer as to his identity or birthdate is guilty of a misdemeanor. ” In other words, never give the police a fake name or birthdate. Also keep in mind, if you are detained by the police in a traffic stop, you must provide your driver’s license and insurance information upon request. Of course, you do not have to answer any other police questions, such as where you are going or if you have been drinking.

Georgia Man Convicted of Rape, Lying About Identity to Investigators

Another thing to note: Your reason for giving the police a fake name is irrelevant. It is still a crime. A recent decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Wells v. State, provides a useful example. In this case, the defendant gave a false name to officers investigating a rape allegation. A jury subsequently convicted the defendant of both the rape and the lie.

According to the accuser’s testimony at trial, two men offered her a ride home while she was walking her dog. She accepted the ride. But the two men then drove to an empty road and proceeded to rape the accuser instead.

A second accuser subsequently identified the defendant’s colleague as her attacker. When questioned by police, he said the defendant was with him during both attacks. A police investigator then called the defendant. The defendant answered the phone using a false name. He also admitted to raping the first accuser, but claimed the other man forced him to do it.

At trial, the prosecutor asked the defendant why he gave a false name. The defendant replied he was wanted in another jurisdiction on an unrelated crime. The defense then moved for a mistrial on the grounds the state improperly introduced evidence of unrelated “bad acts” into evidence. The judge denied the mistrial but instructed the jury to ignore the question and the defendant’s response.

As previously noted, the jury found the defendant guilty of both the rape and giving false information to the police. The Court of Appeals affirmed both convictions.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

Many people questioned by the police lie out of fear. But as with many things in life, telling a lie will only make things worse. Your best option is always to identify yourself truthfully, refuse to answer any questions that might incriminate you, and contact a qualified Atlanta sex crimes lawyer to represent you. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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