False Report of Crime – Penal Code 148.5

False Report of a Criminal Offense – California Penal Code 148.5

Making a false report to a police officer, deputy attorney general, or a deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, while knowing that the report is false, is a misdemeanor.  These types of cases are often seen in Los Angeles arising from a domestic violence dispute.  One party makes a false report to gain leverage in a child visitation or child custody battle.  

Elements of the crime:

The People have the burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The Defendant made a false report to a police office, district attorney, or attorney general; and
  2. When the Defendant made that statement, he or she knew that the statement was false.

Possible Defenses to California Penal Code 148.5

    • Lost in Translation – The report made to the police was lost in translation.  The defendant made statements in another language which was translated by a family or friend acting as an interpreter and the interpretation was inaccurate or lost in translation.
    • Police Exaggeration/Mistake – The police officer took notes of the incident and then when he went back to the station to complete his police report, the facts that he stated in his police report were misstated or exaggerated.  Sometimes this happens unintentionally when the police officer forgets to record the interview or records the interview but the tape is not clear and he has his memory to rely upon to complete the police report.
    • Inaccurate Witness Perception – There is a specific jury instruction that states that different witnesses may perceive the same incident different.  This does not mean that the person was lying but his perception of the facts were different.  


  • Coerced or Threatened to File Police Report – The defendant was threatened by a family member or friend that if they do not tell the police the certain set of facts, they are going to get hurt.  This type of defense again is seen in Los Angeles domestic violence cases involving child custody or restraining orders.


  • The allegations against you are false – Truth is an absolute defense.  Attorney Arthur Khachatourians is experienced in providing the court your version through witnesses, documents, and experts to vindicate your innocents in court.

Possible Case Dispositions in Los Angeles County

Besides your possible defenses to a case, there are many other possible plea dispositions the Khachatourians Law Group uses to dispose the allegations in Los Angeles. Sometimes, our office will attempt to reject the case if the facts warrant rejection.  Pre-filing efforts will be used by Mr. Khachatourians in order to show the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office that a criminal filing should not be done.  Other times, our office will attempt to mitigate the circumstances by having the matter set with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s informal hearing or the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.  By setting the matter for an informal hearing with the either the Los Angeles City Attorney or the Los Angeles District Attorney, we are usually able to avoid a criminal filing with the Los Angeles Superior Court.  Other plea dispositions for a violation of California Penal Code 148.5 may include, diversion, informal DEJ, formal deferred entry of judgment, and expungement.  

If you are being accused of providing a false report to a police officer in Los Angeles pursuant to Penal Code section 148.5, call the Khachatourians Law Group for a defense consultation.