Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has just signed a new bill prohibiting lying to police during a Michigan criminal investigation. Michigan House Bills 5050 and 5051 make it illegal to “conceal material facts or provide misleading statements” in a criminal investigation.
Specifically, Michigan House Bill 5050 amends the Michigan Penal Code to prohibit and
prescribe criminal penalties for concealing a material fact from a peace officer, or misleading a peace officer regarding a material fact, in a criminal investigation of a felony or a misdemeanor.
Michigan House Bill 5051 sets forth penalties for “lying.”
Where an individual lies in an investigation related to a serious misdemeanor, the potential penalty is 93 days and/or $500. For misdemeanors punishable by more than 1 year, or felonies punishable by less than four years, the potential penalty is 1 year and or $2500. For felonies punishable by 4 years or more that are under investigation, the potential penalty would be 2 years and/or $5000.
The bills are now Public Acts 104 and 105.
Official statements provide “Public safety is a key priority in Michigan, and police officers need to be guaranteed factual information in criminal investigations … Ensuring the truth of statements in criminal investigations is simply a common-sense step to providing the best criminal justice system possible.”
However Michigan criminal defense lawyers and others, including representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are concerned that this law may be misused or abused to intimidate witnesses, including those who are simply filing grievances against the police department.
Under the new law Michigan residents could be criminally charged after making a misstatement or an innocent mistake. Further, due to fear of being charged for a making an honest mistake people may be more reluctant to report crimes or cooperate with authorities.
In order to avoid potential additional criminal penalties it may be best to exercise your right to remain silent.
For more information about Public Acts 104 and 105 or if you have been charged or arrested for any crime, contact the top Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates for an immediate consultation.