What to do about a criminal charge that apears to be in error?

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What to do about a criminal charge that apears to be in error?

My brother is 20 years old and was at a party that got busted by cops. He was not breathalyzed, but the police officer claims that he saw him take a sip of beer. He asked for his ID and my brother gave it to him – it shows that he is underage. When my brother showed me the citation, however, he was charged with Providing False Information 719.3. It makes no sense to me considering he doesn’t have a fake ID. Can someone tell me if this is a legit charge for the crime? Could this be a mix up on the officer’s end? He was the only person cited, besides the owner of the home.

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like the police officer was mistaken. Further, if the police officer truly did see your brother drink while underage, he should have cited him for that, not providing a false identification, which will be way harder to prove. Beyond a reasonable doubt is not what I am seeing here. Your brother should consider hiring a lawyer to not only fight this charge with the prosecutor, and expunge this from his record, but also sue the officer for the legal costs. You may wish to also request the officer's personnel record for the defense to use because you just don't know what will be found in those personnel records that might just prove to be helpful!


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