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Is Not Reporting a Crime a Criminal Offense?
Merely witnessing a crime is a stressful experience, and there is no judgment to be passed if a person fails to report a crime. But, you should also be aware of the potential consequences and understand why you might be forced to think “Where do I hire a good criminal lawyer near me?”
Knowing that you can be charged with a crime for not reporting is the most important aspect of it. Also, you should definitely be aware of how a criminal defense attorney can help you in that situation and understand why you should think about hiring a criminal attorney. However, let us first see what can happen if you don’t report a crime witnessed.
Is it a crime to know about a crime and not reporting?
In the majority of cases, an individual is in no obligation to report a crime after witnessing it according to the Southern District of California Department of Justice. You will face no legal ramifications if you fail to report a crime you witnessed.
This holds true even if you were aware of a crime in advance, you were a witness to a crime as it was taking place, and if you learned about a crime after some time. However, we have to note that, although you face no legal action against you for not reporting a crime, it is every person’s moral duty to do so.
Are there any exceptions to this rule?
Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, and you can be faced with legal action against you if you fail to report a crime in two instances:
- If you abet or aid a crime, you are held legally responsible under Penal Code 31. Aiding or abetting a crime entails that you knew about the illegal plan of the perpetrator, that you either encouraged or facilitated the plan, and that you promoted or instigated it.
- Some professionals, such as police officers, teachers and school officials, medical professionals, therapists, social workers, clergy, and firefighters, are under a legal obligation to report any crimes that fall in the category of the CANRA (California’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act). This means that people practicing the aforementioned professions have to report a crime including child neglect or abuse to the authorities. Otherwise, they will be legally prosecuted.
What happens if you don’t report a crime?
As we’ve said, there are no legal repercussions for not reporting a crime. So, unless you’ve aided or abetted a crime, or if you’ve witnessed a CANRA violation while being employed in a field that demands that you report such a crime, you should not fear any legal action being taken against you.
However, we have to note that although the police encourage people to report the crimes they’ve witnessed, you can get into legal trouble if you submit a false report of a crime, under Penal Code 148.5.
It states that it is illegal to make a false report concerning a crime that did or didn’t take place. You are not allowed to submit a false report concerning felonies or misdemeanors to a prosecutor, a police officer, or the grand jury.
How long do you have to report a crime?
If you’re a witness to a crime, it’s normal that you may be wondering what is the time limit for reporting said crime, and if there’s a time limit at all. The general rule of thumb is that you should report a crime ASAP, as it gives the police more time to react and the criminal less time to get away with it.
When it comes to the matter of there being a limited time period within which you can file a report to the police, it is proscribed under the statute of limitations. These rules vary from state to state, but they also vary depending on the crime.
The general rule of thumb is that there is a one-year time window for reporting minor offenses, such as vandalism, traffic offenses, or minor thefts. But, when it comes to more serious felonies, such as child abuse, rape, or murder, there is not a limited amount of time for filing a report to the police.
“Whom can I turn to for legal help in San Diego?”
If you’re unsure about anything concerning the law, or if you’re in need of a criminal defense lawyer near you in San Diego, you can always come to Monder Criminal Lawyer Group – the finest collection of legal minds in San Diego, with Vik Monder at the helm! We’ll do anything in our power to help you and make your visits to the Gaslamp Quarter as carefree as they used to be. If you have a legal problem, come to Monder Law!