Philadelphia False Identification to Law Enforcement Lawyer | Defending Against False ID To Law Enforcement Charges in PA and NJ

IS GIVING A FAKE NAME TO A POLICE OFFICER A CRIME IN PENNSYLVANIA? 

Did you give a fake name to a police officer and think that means you're automatically guilty of False Identification to Law Enforcement?  This is a common misconception, and the statute is actually more complicated than that. False ID to Law Enforcement is a commonly seen charge in Philadelphia Municipal Court. False ID is a misdemeanor of the third degree. In order to convict a defendant of False ID to Law Enforcement, the Commonwealth must show that the defendant gave false information about his or her identity to a law enforcement officer after being told that the defendant was under official investigation for some sort of violation of law.

Defenses to False Identification to Law Enforcement

There are often defenses to False ID charges of which both the defendant and the prosecution are unaware. This charge is typically seen in situations where the police stop or pull someone over, and during questioning, the person stopped gives a fake name. However, there are a number of potential defenses to this charge.

  • First, the Commonwealth cannot always prove that the defendant actually gave a fake name. If the defendant regularly uses a nickname, it may be a defense that the defendant gave the officer the name that the defendant regularly uses.
     
  • Second, the statute requires more than just a showing that the defendant gave a fake name. The statute requires that the law enforcement officer first inform the defendant that the defendant is under official investigation. Although there are not any magic words that a police officer must use, the police officer must say something to the defendant to inform them that they are being investigated. The mere fact that the police have stopped someone and identified themselves as police officers does not satisfy this second element of the charge because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has specifically held that a defendant is not required to assume they are under official investigation form the totality of the circumstances. Accordingly, if the police officer does not properly inform the defendant of the official investigation, then the Commonwealth may not be able to obtain a conviction on this charge. 
     
  • Third, credibility is always an issue with any criminal charge because the prosecution must prove each element of the statute beyond a reasonable doubt. 
     
  • Fourth, it may be possible to bring a motion to suppress a statement. If the police did not have any legal basis for stopping and questioning the defendant, then it may be possible to have any evidence obtained during the illegal stop suppressed. 

We Can Help With False Identification Charges

Zak T. Goldstein, Esq - Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

Zak T. Goldstein, Esq - Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with False ID to Law Enforcement or any other misdemeanor charge in the Philadelphia Municipal Court, call 267-225-2545 for a complimentary 15-minute criminal defense strategy session with one of our top-rated Philly Criminal Defense Lawyers. 

The Statute: 

 § 4914.  False identification to law enforcement authorities.
        (a)  Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if he furnishes law enforcement authorities with false information about his identity after being informed by a law enforcement officer who is in uniform or who has identified himself as a law enforcement officer that the person is the subject of an official investigation of a violation of law.
        (b)  Grading.--An offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the third degree.


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