You commit a crime under vehicle code 31 when you provide false information – orally or in writing – to a peace officer while the officer is in the performance of his/her duties, when such person knows that the information is false. 1
Examples include giving a police/peace officer any of the following information:
- Wrong answer to a question that is not true
- Wrong/fake name
- Fake/borrowed license/ID
If a defendant prepares and/or offers a forged document, such as a driver’s license, and presents it as genuine, he/she may also face charges under Vehicle Code 20 – false statements to the DMV.
Below our attorneys explain the elements, defenses and penalties under vehicle code 31 vc.
You Did Not Intent to Provide False Information
To convict you of the offense, the prosecutor will have to show that you had intent to defraud. In other words, if you did not know that a document you were presenting was forged, or that the information you were offering was false, you cannot be convicted of this offense.
Moreover, if you offered false information because a cop put you on the spot and you panicked and accidentally made a false statement, it will be difficult for the prosecutor to show that your intent was to defraud or deceive.
Penaltes for vehicle code 31 vc include the following:
Jail: Punishable by up to 6 months in jail
Fine: Up to $1,000
Pursuant to the Penal Code section 148(a)(1), a defendant who resists, obstructs, or delays a law enforcement officer in the performance of his/her duty, may be charged under Penal Code 148(a)(1) – California’s resisting arrest law.
False Representation of Identity to a Police Officer
Penal Code 148.9 California’s presenting a false identity to a police officer law – prohibits one to falsely represent a fake or fictitious identity to a police officer either to evade the process of the court, or to evade the proper identification of the person.
Forgery or Falsification of Car Registration Stickers:
Under the Vehicle Code 4463 VC – It is unlawful to forge, alter, or falsify vehicle registration stickers, license, or license plate.
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- Vehicle Code 31 VC. [↩]
- Vehicle Code 31 VC. [↩]
- The information can be spoken or presented in written form, such as a fake driver’s license ((Vehicle Code 31 VC. [↩]
- A “peace officer” is anyone who is engaged in the duty of law enforcement, including but not limited to the following persons: CHP officer (California Highway Patrol), police officer, sheriff, marshal or deputy marshal of a superior court or county, port warden or port police officer, any inspector or investigator employed in such capacity in the office of a district attorney. Pen. Code, § 830 et seq. [↩]
- “Performance of duties” in this context means engaging in the duty of law enforcement. Pen. Code, § 830 et seq. [↩]
- The word “knows” or “knowingly” imports only a knowledge that the facts exist which bring the act or omission within the provisions of this code. It does not require any knowledge of the unlawfulness of such act or omission. In this case, knowingly means that you knew that the statement or fact is false and offered it anyway. It does not mean that you knew that the act of offering the false statement or fact is unlawful. [↩]