Dorothy Gass made a 911 call at 3:15 am on January 1st. She allegedly claimed that her daughter-in-law, Amy Gass, had threatened to kill her children and herself. When authorities arrived on the scene, they were met by Mark Parkinson, Amy's father. His wife claimed that he had heard what he thought to be intruders outside of their home. He grabbed his gun and began shooting at one of the Walker County deputies. This led to the deputies firing back and shooting Parkinson. His wife thinks that he thought that the law enforcement officers were intruders. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that there was no evidence that Amy Gass threatened her children or herself. The GBI investigated whether or not Dorothy Gass was giving genuine information or making the call on false information.
Almost two months later, Dorothy Gass surrendered herself to Walker County on charges of transmitting a false report of a crime in Georgia.
What constitutes the offense of transmitting a false report of a crime?
According to Georgia Law, “a person who willfully and knowingly gives or causes a false report of a crime to be given to any law enforcement officer or agency of this state is guilty of a misdemeanor” §16-10-26. Therefore, the state must prove that Dorothy Gass willfully and knowingly gave false information during her 911 call on January 1st. If she did not intentionally give a false report or if she believed the information to be accurate, then she did not violate the statute and cannot be guilty of the crime. The penalty is a misdemeanor, which means Gass is facing up to $1,000 in fines, up to twelve months in jail, or both.
Why is the offense of transmitting a false report of a crime taken so seriously?
In many instances, police officers rely on people to provide them with information to help with investigations. When someone provides them with false information, it can really deter them from doing their jobs. Sometimes someone makes a false police report in order to shift the focus onto anyone but them for a crime or to make an innocent party look guilty. Sometimes someone unintentionally makes a false police report because they honestly believe a certain set of facts.
What are defenses to the offense of transmitting a false report of a crime?
A talented and experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer will know a great deal of Georgia Criminal Defenses to utilize in order to get your case dismissed or to get a more favorable outcome. Some defenses include breaking down the elements of the statute. The most obvious would be arguing whether or not someone “willfully and knowingly” gave the false information.
If you or a loved one has been charged with transmitting a false report of a crime in Georgia, don't attempt to defend yourself. Let the team at Lawson and Berry assist with your case. Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today.