Can I get into trouble for unintentionally accusing someone of a crime?

I was driving a friend home which I should not have been driving. We left the bar all I could remember was someone jumping into the back of my truck and the 2 started arguing so I pulled over. They obviously fought because by the time I got around the other side of the car the guy had run off. I thought it was my husband because I remember seeing a white baseball hat. So that’s what I said to

the cops. Now I find out my husband was at home all night with his mom. There is a no contact in place and he’s on probation. Now he sits on a PO hold. Am I in trouble?

Asked on April 28, 2017 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is not penalty for being mistaken or wrong--the law accepts that people make mistakes and does not criminalize good-faith errors. Deliberately filing a false report or making a false accusation can lead to  criminal charges against you, but based on what you describe, that is not what happened. However, once you know of the mistake, you need to let the authorities know; failure to do would be effectively knowingly maintain the lie, and that continuing to persist in an incorrect identification can constitute deliberately making a false report.

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