False Personation in New York: Fake Information Means a New Crime

You are arrested for Prostitution in New York because you were allegedly involved in an escort service or for Forgery in Brooklyn because you were allegedly caught making counterfeit money. Regardless of the underlying crime, if you are arrested anywhere in New York – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Rockland – the police can easily charge you with False Personation if you take a poor course of action. Once you are informed by law enforcement of the consequences of giving false personal information, such as a name or date of birth, and you knowingly misrepresent that information with the intent to prevent the officer from ascertaining the true information, don’t be surprised if the police charge you with False Personation even if the underlying arrest goes nowhere.

Although False Personation is “only” a “B” misdemeanor, as a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau and one of the first prosecutors assigned to the Identity Theft Unit upon its creation, I can tell you defendants often dug themselves into deeper holes because they provided misleading or false information. In other words, if law enforcement does not proceed with the original criminal charges you should be released and the case is over. If, however, the police try to ascertain certain information, you are advised of the consequences if you misrepresent, and you in fact misrepresent to prevent the police from determining your true identity, then you may have bought yourself a night in jail. Why is this significant? Not only will you have to spend time incarcerated waiting to see a judge, but if you were the target of an investigation or the police are investigating new charges and figuring out how to proceed, you just gave them ample time to do so and a reason to lock you up.

In the event you find yourself in this situation contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately and DO NOT give the police phony personal information after they inform you of the consequences.

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