False Reporting in Colorado – C.R.S. 18-8-110
In Colorado, there are two different laws that address “False Reporting.”
First, C.R.S. 18-8-110 applies to the “False reporting of explosives, weapons, or harmful substances.”
Under this first statute or law, a person may be convicted if that person has reported to any other person that a bomb or other explosive, a chemical or biological agent, any poison or weapon, or any harmful radioactive substance has been placed in any public or private place or vehicle designed for the transportation of person or property, knowing that the report is false.
That paragraph is a mouthful for anyone. With that said, there are a few critically important elements of this offense that are worth pointing out. First, this charge can be applicable when a person reports “to any other person” the presence of one of those potentially harmful weapons or products. That means, that you can be charged with this offense even if you never call police or security but simply by mentioning the presence of these items to anybody.
Further, in order to be convicted of this offense, you must have “known” that the report was false when you mentioned the dangerous or harmful item to another person.
Finally, that dangerous item can be in public but can also be in private.
A conviction under this charge would be a class 6 felony. Although a class 6 felony is the lowest level felony we have in Colorado, it is still a felony and is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment and/or $100,000 in fines.
Second, C.R.S. 18-8-111 applies to the “False reporting to authorities – false reporting of emergencies.”
This second law on False Reporting doesn’t focus on the false reporting of explosives, weapons, or harmful substances but rather focuses on the false reporting of emergencies.
The way in which this offense is prosecuted depends on the type of behavior and the different emergency agencies involved.
Conduct prohibited by this law obviously includes situations where someone reports a crime or other incident when that person knows that the crime or other incident did not occur. With that said, this statute actually applies to several other situations as well.
For example, someone can be charged with this offense when they trigger a fire alarm or emergency exit alarm when there is no fire or emergency.
Further, this charge also applies when someone tries to provide law enforcement with a ‘tip’ or information about a crime or suspect but does so knowing that the information they are providing is false.
The level or class of crime depends on the type of alleged behavior in that case. This offense can be charged as a class 3 misdemeanor, a class 2 misdemeanor, a class 1 misdemeanor, a class 4 felony, or a class 3 felony.
If you are facing one of these charges, it is critically important that you have an attorney that understands what defenses may be applicable and which ones are not applicable. For example, under this statute, it is not a defense to argue that the defendant did not have the intent or capability of committing the threatened or reported act.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez are ready to advocate on your behalf. Contact the firm today to set up a free consultation.