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Driver, Passenger or Owner Providing False or Misleading Identity Information to Police

Being a driver, passenger or owner of a vehicle that provides false or misleading information about identity to police is an offence under section 18 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were a driver, passenger or owner of a vehicle,
  2. You were required under section 14 of the Act to provide identity information to police, and
  3. You gave a name that was false in a material particular, or gave an address other than a full and correct address.

Section 14 of the Act sets out the obligations of drivers, passengers and owners of vehicles to provide identification information to police officers.

The section makes clear that an officer who suspects on reasonable grounds that a vehicle is being, or was, or may have been used in or in connection with an indictable offence may do any one or more of the following:

  • require the driver of the vehicle to disclose his or her identity and the identity of any driver of, or passenger in or on, the vehicle at or about the time the vehicle was or may have been so used or at or about the time the vehicle last stopped before the requirement was made or a direction was given to stop the vehicle,
  • require any passenger in or on the vehicle to disclose his or her identity and the identity of the driver of, or any other passenger in or on, the vehicle at or about the time the vehicle was or may have been so used or at or about the time the vehicle last stopped before the requirement was made or a direction was given to stop the vehicle, and
  • require any owner of the vehicle (who was or was not the driver or a passenger) to disclose the identity of the driver of, and any passenger in or on, the vehicle at or about the time the vehicle was or may have been so used or at or about the time the vehicle last stopped before the requirement was made or a direction was given to stop the vehicle.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish, on the balance of probabilities, that you had a reasonable excuse for your conduct.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, necessity and self-defence.

If you are able to raise evidence of a general legal defence, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case.

You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

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