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What Happens if I Lie to Police about a Friend's Crime?

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The short answer is that you may be guilty of one or more of several crimes.

Do you have current criminal charges?

If you have lied to the police about a crime that one or more of your friends have committed, you could face some significant consequences.
You must remember that you are not under any obligation to speak with the police. However, if you choose to talk to investigators, it's not wise to lie to them. If you lie to the police about a friend's crime you can be charged with one or more crimes of your own.

What will happen if I make a False Statements?

In many jurisdictions it's a crime to make false or misleading statements to the police or a public officials. 
For example, assume that you had a friend who is charged with a DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol). You and your friend had been out drinking the night he was arrested, and when the police learn this they come to ask you questions. You tell the police that you only saw your friend have one or two drinks, even though you actually saw him have many more. You could be charged with making a false statement.

Obstruction of Justice?

Lying to the police about a friend's crime can also lead to charges of obstruction of justice, also known as obstructing a law-enforcement officer. People commit obstruction of justice when they do something to hinder, delay, or obstruct the officials in the performance of their official duties. This includes acts such as destroying evidence or communicating false or deceptive information.
For example, assuming that the police come to your home to ask you questions about the night your friend was arrested for DUI. They ask to speak to you by name, but instead of admitting who you are, you give them a false name. You could be charged with obstruction of justice. To learn more, see our article on Obstruction of Justice.

Accessory After the Fact?

You might also face a charge of being an accessory after the fact if you lied to the police about your friend's crime. To be charged with this crime you have to assist someone after that person commits a crime with the intent to help that person avoid arrest, prosecution, or punishment.
For example, that your friend comes to your house after driving drunk and then running from the police. Soon after he arrives, the police also show up. They ask you if you've seen your friend, and you tell them that you don't know where he is. Because you lied to the police knowing that it would help your friend avoid arrest, you can be charged with being an accessory after the fact.

What is Perjury?

Perjury involves making false statements while under oath or affirmation.
For example, if you give testimony at trial you have to swear or affirm that your testimony will be truthful. If you lie about something that isn't trivial while giving such testimony, you can be charged with perjury. When dealing with the police in a criminal investigation you typically aren't under oath, so you cannot commit perjury by lying to them (but you have likely committed another crime).

Should I consult with a Solicitor?

If you have lied to, misled, or otherwise interfered with the authorities, or have been charged with a crime relating to such conduct, you need to speak to a criminal defence attorney right away. Only an experienced attorney in your area will be able to tell you what crimes you could be charged with and what you can do to help yourself. If the police accuse you of lying, you should usually ask to speak to a solicitor before making any statements that might incriminate yourself.
If you have lied to the police and think that you may need some support, We are here to help. With our 24 hour on call emergency crime team ready to aid you at the police station and inside the courts.

Book your meeting today on 020 7737 9339 or email us at