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VC 20 Providing False Information to CHP or the DMV in California

VC 20: Providing False Information to CHP or the DMV

Legal Definition: “(a)  It is unlawful to use a false or fictitious name, or to knowingly make any false statement or knowingly conceal any material fact in any document filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of the California Highway Patrol.”

To be found guilty of VC 20, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. You used a false or fictitious name; or
  2. You knowingly made a false statement; or
  3. You knowingly concealed a material fact;
  4. You made this statement to the DMV or a CHP Officer

What does this mean?

This crime is similar to VC 31, but it is expanded to apply to CHP officers and the DMV. A common example of this offense in California is a person who is a non-US Citizen, using a fake name or social security number to obtain a California Driver’s License. This also applies to when you are stopped on the freeway by CHP, if you decide to give officers a fake name or provide a fake ID card or Registration card to them, you can also be guilty under this section.

A material fact, as used here, means a fact that is relevant or significant (such as providing the above false information). Telling officers you were leaving your friend’s house, but in reality, you were leaving your girlfriend’s house, would not be considered a material fact, since it is not relevant in this circumstance where you are coming from. Another example of a non-material fact would be lying on your driver’s license about your weight out of embarrassment; this is not a material fact. This offense also requires that the false material statement be made knowingly

Imagine filling out a DMV or CHP form (after an accident), and you put down your vehicle’s wrong license plate number. This would be material since it involves the DMV registration of your vehicle or the CHP since they need that information for you to file with your insurance. But if it is not done knowingly or on purpose, such as an accidental misnumbering, then it would not be a crime here.


A violation under VC 20 is a straight misdemeanor offense. If convicted, you could be sentenced to a County Jail of up to 180 days. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be fined up to $1,000, for a violation under this section.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Courtsince this crime involves dishonesty and lying to a person of authority, and may be considered a crime of moral turpitude.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

As mentioned above, if you can show that you are not concealing a material fact, or that you did not knowingly provide false information, it can act as a defense to this crime. Here, you’d be able to argue there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of the crime, since the elements of the crime were not met. However, if you provide a false name, it would be hard to argue in that set of facts that the information provided was made by mistake, and this defense may not go well for you in Court.

A common defense to any driving offense can be that the officer who stopped your car, had violated your rights under the Fourth Amendment. In California, there is a motion to be made where police made an illegal or unlawful stop of you, then under PC 1538.5, you can move to suppress any evidence that came after your illegal stop. This would mean if police unlawfully stopped your vehicle for a traffic violation that you did not actually commit, then a Suppression Motion can be successful in getting the stop invalided by police, and likely lead to your case being dismissed.

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A criminal conviction, particularly for offenses such as providing false information to authorities like the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under VC 20, can indeed have severe and lasting consequences. Such convictions can jeopardize your employment, future opportunities, and personal freedom.

In facing these challenges, the expertise and approach of your legal representation are crucial. Our Ontario VC 20 attorney at Inland Empire Defense has a proven track record of successfully defending individuals throughout the Inland Empire accused of various crimes, including providing false information to CHP or the DMV.

We understand the gravity of these charges and the significant impact they can have on your life. Our team is committed to providing a robust defense and navigating the complexities of your case to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome.

If you or someone you know is facing charges under VC 20, don’t hesitate to seek professional legal assistance. Contact your local Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense Attorney at Inland Empire Defense by calling 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario, CA, we are prepared to assist you in this critical situation and guide you towards a favorable resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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