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18-8-111. False reporting to authorities.

Statute text

(1) A person commits false reporting to authorities, if:

(a) He or she knowingly:

(I) Causes by any means, including but not limited to activation, a false alarm of fire or other emergency or a false emergency exit alarm to sound or to be transmitted to or within an official or volunteer fire department, ambulance service, law enforcement agency, or any other government agency which deals with emergencies involving danger to life or property; or

(II) Prevents by any means, including but not limited to deactivation, a legitimate fire alarm, emergency exit alarm, or other emergency alarm from sounding or from being transmitted to or within an official or volunteer fire department, ambulance service, law enforcement agency, or any other government agency that deals with emergencies involving danger to life or property; or

(b) He makes a report or knowingly causes the transmission of a report to law enforcement authorities of a crime or other incident within their official concern when he knows that it did not occur; or

(c) He or she makes a report or knowingly causes the transmission of a report to law enforcement authorities pretending to furnish information relating to an offense or other incident within their official concern when he or she knows that he or she has no such information or knows that the information is false; or

(d) He or she knowingly provides false identifying information to law enforcement authorities.

(2) False reporting to authorities is a class 3 misdemeanor; except that if it is committed in violation of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section and committed during the commission of another criminal offense, it is a class 2 misdemeanor.

(3) For purposes of this section, "identifying information" means a person's name, address, birth date, social security number, or driver's license or Colorado identification number.

History

Source: L. 71: R&RE, p. 456, 1. C.R.S. 1963: 40-8-111. L. 77: (1)(b) and (1)(c) amended, p. 965, 39, effective July 1. L. 86: (2) amended, p. 771, 9, effective July 1. L. 96: (1)(c) amended and (1)(d) and (3) added, pp. 1840, 1841, 2, 3, effective July 1. L. 97: (3) amended, p. 1541, 6, effective July 1. L. 2012: (1)(a) and (2) amended, (HB 12-1304), ch. 237, p. 1049, 2, effective May 29.

Annotations

Cross references: For the legislative declaration in the 2012 act amending subsections (1)(a) and (2), see section 1 of chapter 237, Session Laws of Colorado 2012.

Annotations

 

ANNOTATION

Annotations

Defendant was not entitled to jury instruction that offense of false reporting to authorities was a lesser included offense of criminal impersonation because false reporting has the additional element of making or transmission of a report to law enforcement authorities. People v. Vasallo-Hernandez, 939 P.2d 440 (Colo. App. 1995).

Nor did evidence support jury instruction on offense of false reporting to authorities as a lesser non-included offense of criminal impersonation absent the initiation of affirmative action intended to communicate information. People v. Vasallo-Hernandez, 939 P.2d 440 (Colo. App. 1995).

Any error in refusing to give a false reporting instruction was harmless because it did not prohibit defendant from presenting his theory of defense. Trial court properly refused to give a false reporting instruction because there was no evidentiary basis upon which the jury could both rationally acquit on the greater charges but convict on the false reporting charge. Further, the failure to instruct on false reporting did not prevent defendant from presenting his theory that a passenger was driving the car at the time of the accident. One passenger testified that the other passenger, not defendant, was driving the car at the time of the accident. And defense counsel so argued in closing argument. Thus, any error in refusing to give the false reporting instruction was harmless because it did not prohibit defendant from presenting his theory of defense. People v. Medrano-Bustamante, 2013 COA 139, __ P.3d __.

This section is distinguishable from 18-8-105. A deliberate attempt to thwart law enforcement is more destructive than conduct not designed to do so. As a result, the greater punishment for the offense of accessory to a crime is justified. People v. Preciado-Flores, 66 P.3d 155 (Colo. App. 2002).

False reporting to authorities is not a specific instance of attempt to influence a public servant. The crime of false reporting penalizes those who provide untruthful information to public officials, regardless of an attempt to influence public officials. The attempted influence offense can occur without any false reporting at all. Thus, the attempted influence charge and the false reporting charge do not differ solely by prohibiting general and specific conduct. People v. Blue, 253 P.3d 1273 (Colo. App. 2011).

A person reporting child abuse does not commit false reporting to authorities if he or she reports child abuse that cannot be proven because allegations of child abuse are a matter of public concern. Lawson v. Stow, 2014 COA 26, 327 P.3d 340.