Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak, PLC
Full-Service Lawyers In Monroe, Serving Clients Throughout Michigan
Call Us Today

False Report of a Crime or Medical Emergency In Michigan: Legal Grounds and Penalties

False report of a crime of medical emergency in michigan legal grounds and penalties

Every police agency has finite resources, so there are only so many officers and squad cars that can respond to complaints and emergencies at any given time in any given jurisdiction. In some cases, the police agency has to make a judgment call on where to respond first when there are more complaints and emergencies than manpower to address them. These delays can sometimes result in someone being severely hurt or killed. If any of these horrible outcomes were due to the police wasting time on a bogus call, then you can be sure that the consequences will be severe. Making false reports of crimes or medical emergencies to police is a crime in Michigan that carries stiff penalties.

The Michigan Legislature has proscribed several different classes of crimes relating to false reports. The severity of the penalty depends on what type of false crime was reported and what kind of injuries were sustained by law enforcement as a result of the response:

FALSE REPORT OF A CRIME

  1. First, the defendant reported to a state trooper, deputy sheriff, police officer or some other peace officer that a crime had been committed.
  2. Second, that this report was false as to either the fact or the details of the crime.
  3. Third, that when the defendant made the report, the defendant knew it was false.
  4. Fourth, that the defendant intended to make a false report concerning a crime.
  • A conviction of false report of a crime carries the following penalties:
  1. If the report is a false report of a misdemeanor, contrary to MCL 750.411a(1)(a), the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine up to $500.00, or both.
  2. If the report is a false report of a felony, contrary to MCL 750.411a(1)(b), the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both.
  3. If the false report (whether of a misdemeanor or felony) results in a response to address the reported crime and a person incurs physical injury as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(1)(c), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a fine up to $20,000.00, or both.
  4. If the false report (whether of a misdemeanor or felony) results in a response to address the reported crime and a person incurs serious impairment of a body function as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(1)(d), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $25,000.00, or both.
  5. If the false report (whether of a misdemeanor or felony) results in a response to address the reported crime and a person is killed as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(1)(e), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison or a fine not less than $25,000.00 but not more than $50,000.00, or both.

FALSE REPORT OF A BOMBING OR POISONING THREAT OR OCCURRENCE

  • An individual is guilty of the crime of making a false report of a bombing or poisoning threat or occurrence, contrary to MCL 750.411a(2), if the prosecutor can prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. First, the defendant reported to a state trooper, deputy sheriff, police officer or some other peace officer that a death due to explosives (MCL 750.327), a threat to cause a death due to explosives (MCL 750.328), a harmful object was placed in food (MCL 750.397a), or a poisoning of food or drink (MCL 750.436), or a threat of any of these specific crimes.
  2. Second, that this report was false as to either the fact or the details of the crime.
  3. Third, that when the defendant made the report, the defendant knew it was false.
  4. Fourth, that the defendant intended to make a false report concerning a crime.
  • A conviction of false report of a bombing or poisoning threat or occurrence carries the following penalties:
  1. If the false report results in a response to address the reported crime and a person incurs physical injury as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(3)(a), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both.
  2. If the false report results in a response to address the reported crime and a person incurs serious impairment of a body function as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(3)(a), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both, for a first conviction (up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.00, or both, for a second of subsequent conviction pursuant to MCL 750.411a(3)(b)).
  3. If the false report results in a response to address the reported crime and a person is killed as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(3)(e), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both, for a first conviction (up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.00, or both, for a second of subsequent conviction pursuant to MCL 750.411a(3)(b)).

FALSE REPORT OF A MEDICAL OR OTHER EMERGENCY

  • An individual is guilty of the crime of making a false report of a medical or other emergency, contrary to MCL 750.411a(4), if the prosecutor can prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. First, the defendant reported a medical or other emergency to a peace officer, police agency of this state or of a local unit of government, firefighter or fire department of this state or a local unit of government, 9-1-1 operator, medical first responder or any governmental employee or contractor or employee of a contractor who is authorized to receive reports of medical or other emergencies.
  2. Second, that this report was false as to either the fact or the details of the medical or other emergency.
  3. Third, that when the defendant made the report, the defendant knew it was false.
  4. Fourth, that the defendant intended to make a false report concerning a medical or other emergency.
  • A conviction of false report of a medical or other emergency carries the following penalties:
  1. If a false report is made to police or emergency personnel, contrary to MCL 750.411a(4)(a), the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine up to $500.00, or both.
  2. If the false report results in a response to address the reported medical or other emergency and a person incurs physical injury as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(4)(b), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a fine up to $20,000.00, or both.
  3. If the false report results in a response to address the reported medical or other emergency and a person incurs serious impairment of a body function as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(4)(c), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $25,000.00, or both.
  4. If the false report results in a response to address the reported medical or other emergency and a person is killed as a proximate result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, contrary to MCL 750.411a(4)(d), the individual responsible for the false report is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison or a fine not less than $25,000.00 but not more than $50,000.00, or both.

A person can be convicted of these crimes if ANY of the facts or details communicated to the proper authorities were knowingly false, even if most of the other reported facts or details were true. In People v Chavis, 468 Mich 84; 658 NW2d 469 (2003), the defendant reported that he was carjacked by several men, but he later admitted to lying about the beginning location of the crime because he was a crack cocaine user and did not want to tell police officers why he was in the area. Although the trial judge believed that the defendant was a victim of a carjacking, he found that the knowingly false detail of the starting location satisfied the elements of false report of a felony and found the defendant guilty after a bench trial. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, but the Michigan Supreme Court reinstated the guilty finding on the basis that the elements had been satisfied. “…[T]he plain language of the statute is not limited to only those situations where no crime has been committed; it also applies where one reports false details about the crime.” Id at 93. “Because defendant reported false details about the crime, he can be convicted under the statute.” Id.

Upon conviction, MCL 750.411a(5) authorizes the sentencing court to order the defendant to pay to the state or local unit of government the costs of responding to the false report. These reimbursable costs include, but are not limited to, the use of police, fire, medical or other emergency response vehicles and teams. If a juvenile is found guilty of making a false report, the sentencing court can order the parents having supervisory control over the juvenile to pay these costs under certain conditions, pursuant to MCL 750.411a(6).

A false report (or attempted false report) of a crime or medical emergency occurs if the communication of the false reports originates in Michigan, ends with a response in Michigan, or ends with a person who is in Michigan. MCL 750.411a(7). Furthermore, a false report (or attempted false report) of a crime or medical emergency can be prosecuted in ANY jurisdiction where the communication either started or ended. MCL 750.411a(8).

In addition to the civil and criminal penalties, the obvious consequence of making false reports that the individual will be ostracized like “the boy who cried wolf”. If that individual has a reputation among police and first responders of telling lies, then those agencies will not be inclined to respond when that person reports an actual crime or emergency. It would be an unfortunate stroke of karma to have this individual actually risk life or limb to have no one come to his or her aid. This scenario highlights the stupidity in deliberately committing such an act.

In these types of prosecutions, the prosecutor has the total burden of proving that the defendant KNEW the statement was false. If the defendant was either mistaken or had a good faith belief that he or she was communicating the truth, then the appropriate resolution should be an acquittal or a dismissal of charges. If you or a loved one is facing a charge of false report of a crime or emergency, it is important to have an experience criminal defense attorney in your corner that can review all of the facts and determine if you have a valid defense to these accusations. Even if the allegations of false report are true, a lawyer can still assist you in negotiating a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor, especially if the evidence appears weak against you or your prior criminal record is minimal. If you need assistance with a charge of false report of a crime or emergency, or any other criminal charge, then contact the attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC to begin your aggressive defense today.

FindLaw Network

office

seal-for-90103327