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Vehicle Code 31: Providing False Information to Police Officer Laws in California

VC 31: Providing False Information to Police Officers

Legal Definition: “No person shall give, either orally or in writing, information to a peace officer while in the performance of his duties under the provisions of this code when such person knows that the information is false.”

To obtain a guilty verdict under VC 31, the prosecution must establish the following crucial elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You knowingly supplied false information to a law enforcement officer while they were dutifully carrying out their responsibilities.
  • You were fully aware that the information you provided was indeed untrue.
  • You were conscious of the fact that you were deliberately misleading a law enforcement officer.

What does this mean?

Law enforcement personnel are granted the authorization to utilize deceptive tactics during interactions with citizens while it is deemed unlawful for individuals to provide false information to the police. It is important to note that officers are not legally obligated to disclose their affiliation with law enforcement when questioned, contrary to popular misconceptions. Conversely, civilians can face misdemeanor charges under this provision for various infractions. Instances that could warrant the violation of VC 31 encompass providing fictitious personal identification, counterfeit driver’s licenses, forged registrations, or knowingly providing false responses.

It is natural for individuals to experience anxiety and react unfavorably when encountering a law enforcement encounter, even if they are not actively engaging in unlawful activities. Nonetheless, fabricating falsehoods with the intention of evading potential consequences can escalate a seemingly routine traffic infraction into an arrest. Non-U.S. citizens often find themselves entangled in such predicaments as they seek to avert legal scrutiny and conceal their residence in the United States unlawfully. However, this strategy may lead to unforeseen complications should they pursue U.S. citizenship, as an array of associated aliases could result in future criminal prosecutions.


A charge under VC 31 is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted of this charge you could be sentenced up to six months in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be subject to a fine up to $1,000 for this charge. You can also be facing additional charges if it is found that the reason you were providing false information was for the purposes of evading police.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 suspension or loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime lying or deceit.

Common Defenses

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

To establish guilt for this offense, it is imperative to demonstrate that intentional dissemination of false information to law enforcement took place. It is important to note that offering an alternate name when specifically asked for one by an officer would be an arduous defense to argue, as it diminishes the plausibility of forgetting one’s own name. However, if profound nervousness can be proven and it can be established that a false statement was not made knowingly to the police, this could potentially serve as a viable defense against these charges. It is crucial to understand that in order to substantiate your guilt, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that you deliberately provided inaccurate information to a law enforcement officer. Should the prosecution fail to meet this burden, your case may be dismissed due to insufficient evidence to support the charges brought against you.

Moreover, it is noteworthy that falsely providing information to an individual who does not disclose their status as a police officer, such as an off-duty officer, does not constitute a criminal offense. While the officer may be actively engaged in their duties, potentially undercover or dressed in civilian attire, if their identity as an officer is not made known to you, you cannot be found guilty of this particular charge.

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Misleading a police officer, as outlined under VC 31, is a serious matter that could have significant legal and personal repercussions. An act that might initially appear inconsequential can quickly lead to substantial consequences, including up to six months of incarceration. Beyond the potential jail time, the lasting impact on your reputation and the potential hindrance to future employment opportunities are concerns that demand immediate and effective legal action.

At Inland Empire Defense, our Ontario-based VC 31 attorney is well-versed in the complexities of defending against charges of providing false information to law enforcement. With a wealth of experience in successfully navigating such cases, we are committed to offering a defense strategy that not only aims to protect your freedom but also preserves your reputation and future prospects.

Why Choose Inland Empire Defense for VC 31 Charges?

  • Experienced Legal Representation: Our attorney’s dedicated focus on VC 31 charges means your case benefits from a depth of knowledge and a track record of successful defenses against accusations of lying to law enforcement officers.
  • Personalized Defense Strategy: Understanding the stakes, we tailor our legal approach to the specifics of your case, ensuring the strongest possible defense aimed at achieving favorable outcomes.
  • Unwavering Support: Recognizing the anxiety that comes with facing criminal charges, we provide unwavering support throughout the legal process, ensuring you have the guidance and representation you need.

Protect Your Future with Inland Empire Defense

The consequences of a conviction under VC 31 highlight the necessity of strategic legal representation. Inland Empire Defense, located in the heart of Ontario, CA, stands ready to offer the specialized legal support required to effectively address these charges.

Contact Inland Empire Defense Today

If you’re facing accusations under VC 31 for misleading a police officer, don’t let the potential ramifications threaten your future. Contact Inland Empire Defense at 909-939-7126 to secure a defense team that is committed to defending your rights and safeguarding your prospects. Our Ontario-based office is strategically positioned to provide the comprehensive legal counsel and advocacy you need during this critical time.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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