Lying may never be a good idea, but Florida’s First Circuit Court of Appeal recently explained in DKD v. State that it’s not necessarily against the law either.

Juvenile DKD was arrested in Florida and charged with giving a false name to a police officer following a late night run-in with two Florida police officers.

According to one of the cops, Davis Goodwin, he observed DKD sprinting through a parking lot as if being chased while Goodwin was on patrol with another officer. They approached DKD, who told the officers that he was on his way home from his friend’s house. The officers asked DKD his name in order to contact a parent and ensure that he had not run away from home. DKD gave a false name and told Goodwin that his mother was not home and could not be reached. After placing DKD in a patrol car, the officers drove toward the address he gave them as that of his home. On the way, DKD admitted that he had given the officers a false name and address.

Although a trial court denied a motion by DKD’s lawyer to dismiss the charge, the First District reversed the decision on appeal. Specifically, the court found that DKD could not be found guilty because he had not been arrested or lawfully detained when he gave the officers the false information. “By the specific terms of the statute the giving of false identification must occur after an arrest or lawful detention has commenced in order to constitute a violation of law,” the court explained.

Here, the encounter between DKD and the police officers was consensual, according to the court, rather than incident to an arrest or detainment. “There is no basis in the record before us for finding that the officers had a well-founded suspicion that specific criminal activity was occurring,” the court ruled. Indeed, Goodwin’s partner told the trial court that they stopped DKD in order to ask him a few questions, that they did not intend to arrest him and that they decided to drive him home simply for safety reasons.

While the officers also said that they suspected DKD may have been attempting to burglarize a nearby trailer containing fireworks, they admitted there was no evidence to support this suspicion. Thus, to the extent that the encounter was a “detention,” it was not “lawful” according to the court.

As a result, the court reversed and vacated the lower court’s decision.

Juvenile criminal charges are a serious matter. If you’re under the age of 18 and have been charged with a crime in Florida, you should consult the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. The South Florida criminal defense attorneys at Anidjar & Levine represent juvenile and adult clients throughout the area, including in Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. Our attorneys are familiar with Florida criminal law and can help assess your particular case, negotiate with the prosecution, and aggressively defend your rights in court.

Call us at 800-747-3733 or fill out and submit our online “Contact Us” form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Related blog posts:

When Can Police Stop You on the Street? Mackey v. State

Can Police Use Your Silence Against You? Supreme Court Decides not to Decide

Florida Court Reverses 80-Year Sentence for Juvenile Convicted of Armed Robbery with Pellet Gun- Floyd v. State