My boyfriend and I were leaving Target's parking lot and we were involved in a minor fender bender. My boyfriend has a suspended license and he was driving. I panicked and lied and said I was the driver. The other party later told police that my boyfriend was the driver and they caught me by the store's camera in the parking lot. The officer called me and asked why I had lied. I confessed and apologized over and over and said I was trying to protect him. From my understanding the officer said he was going to let me go with a warning. I have no record whatsoever of any kind and I learned my lesson. Should I worry and how long does an officer have to issue any charges? I'm really need peace of mind. Thanks for any help.
The bad news is that the officer has a LONG time to make up his mind whether to charge you with a false-statement crime: the statute of limitations won't be up for two years and, while there are certainly due process considerations that might prevent a case based on pre-arrest delay, I do not believe that they would apply in your case.
The good news is that police officers get lied to ALL THE TIME. If every person who lied to a police officer during an investigation got prosecuted, the courts would be SWAMPED. As long as you were courteous during your interactions with the officer and, when presented with irrefutable evidence that you had lied you admitted as much, then I find it very unlikely that the officer would bring any charges. (Note, though, that as a general matter it is NOT a good idea for you to confess!)
So the long and the short of it is: you're not off the hook, but I wouldn't spend too much time worrying. If you do get charged, hire a good attorney and, given how small the crime was, I'm confident everything will turn out fine.
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