Lying to federal authorities such as the FBI is a crime that is punishable by up to five years in federal prison. Over the past year or so, many people have become aware of this crime due to recent highly publicized cases that have filled the headlines relating to the ongoing Special Counsel’s investigation of foreign interference in the 2016 election. Indictments have been unsealed relating to multiple defendants pleading guilty, being sentenced by a judge and sent to prison for this crime. Others await sentencing after negotiating plea deals for this crime as well as others.
However the same circumstance doesn’t apply for lying to local or state law enforcement authorities. It’s important to know that difference. Although statements you make to a police officer (true or false) can be used and held against you in a court of law whether your Miranda rights have been read to you or not at the time your statements were made, but the act of telling a lie in itself is not a crime.
Those who have visited my Website, or read articles here on my blog have been educated strongly to never speak when questioned by police or any other type of law enforcement authorities without an attorney present. It is also crucial not to volunteer information. This instruction is imperative whether an arrest has been made or the possibility of one may be pending. Even if police believe you’re only a witness to a possible crime you have the right to say nothing to them if they question you until an attorney is present.