False Statement in License Application
Falsifying information can result in serious criminal charges. It is illegal to make false statements in a license application in Massachusetts. A conviction can result in reputational harm, difficulty finding a job, difficulty going to college or graduate school, and difficulty securing housing. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, our Boston motor vehicle crime lawyer may be able to develop a strong strategy to defend you if you are charged with falsifying information.Making a False Statement in a License Application
It is illegal to submit a driver's license application with false information on it. The prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you applied for a driver's license, learner's permit, or state identification card in Massachusetts, that you made a false statement in your application, and that you knew that the statement was false when you made it.
The potential consequences depend on the intent and the type of false information that was provided. There are situations in which you may have accidentally submitted false information. An accidental error can be a basis for a strong defense, since instances in which mistakes were made are not supposed to be the basis for convictions. You must have "guilty knowledge" that you are making a false statement to be convicted. The law covers situations in which you know that you are lying because you are trying to obtain some benefit. For example, if you are underage and try to submit false information in order to buy alcohol, you could be charged. Similarly, if you submit a false name to buy a firearm because you have a criminal record and are not allowed to buy or carry a firearm, you could be convicted.
You should not assume that you will be convicted or quickly plead guilty. As with other crimes, the prosecution must prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very tough burden. As noted above, in many cases, the prosecution is unable to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the requisite scienter, or state of mind, when making the false statement. In other cases, the information that you provided is not "false." Sometimes there are other applicable defenses, such as a mistake or a police procedural error, that can go into your defense. Sometimes this charge is brought along with or instead of other charges, such as perjury, OUI, possession of a fake ID, or driving on a suspended license. It may be possible for us to negotiate a plea deal so that you face a conviction only for the crime that is punished the least harshly.
If you are convicted for a first offense of making false statements when applying for a driver's license, a learner's permit, or registration of a motor vehicle, you can be punished with imprisonment of 30 days to two years, a $50 to $500 fine, or both. If you are convicted a second time for the same offense, you face the possibility of imprisonment for up to five years, a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days to 2.5 years in a house of correction, a fine of up to $1,000, or a combination. Third or subsequent offenses can result in sentences that entail six months to 2.5 years in a house of correction, a fine of $200 to $1,000, or 2.5 years to five years in state prison, or both a fine and imprisonment.
People who are convicted may also face an automatic license suspension. This can be problematic for many people who rely on their driver's license to get to work or school. It may be possible to obtain a hardship license, but this is not always easy.Retain a Knowledgeable Boston Attorney to Fight a Motor Vehicle Charge
If you are charged with making a false statement in a license application, you should retain an experienced Boston lawyer. While it may not seem like a big deal at the time, these charges are taken seriously, and they can affect the outcome of charges that are brought in the future as well. We can develop a strong strategy on your behalf. Call the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy at (617) 367-0450 or contact us via our online form for a free appointment with a motor vehicle offense or OUI lawyer. Patrick Murphy also assists people fighting charges in Cambridge, Framingham, Lynn, Martha's Vineyard, Medford, Newton, Somerville, Taunton, and other areas of Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, Barnstable, Hampden, Hampshire, Bristol, and Dukes Counties.