Criminal Defense

What Does it Mean to Recant a Confession to the Police?

July 25, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in Criminal Defense  
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Changing Your Official Statements

Recanting a statement means you want to withdraw, or take back, a previous statement that you made to the police. The consequences of deciding to recant your statement will vary depending on your situation. A person retracting a statement should keep the following factors in mind when making a recant.

  • You can be prosecuted with perjury if the testimony a victim recants was given under oath and later retracted.
  • Even if a statement is recanted, it can still be utilized in some circumstances if made under oath and filmed.
  • Giving a false statement to the police is a criminal act.
  • If you are thinking about retracting a remark, you must consult with an independent lawyer.

The fact that a plaintiff recants a previous testimony to the police does not guarantee that the accusations against the suspect will be abandoned or withdrawn. Such is often the case in domestic violence cases.

Why Would Anyone Recant Their Statement?

The prosecution may lose the support of victims and witnesses, probably because they are willing to forgive the accused and do not want to see them go through legal processes or fear reprisals. It is not the same as that person saying that they have lied. If a witness admits to lying, they may be arrested and prosecuted for perverting the course of justice.

The statement of withdrawal of support should include the following information:

  • Confirmation of whether the victim’s initial statement to the police was correct.
  • Whether at any point, someone put the victim under pressure to withdraw or they were subjected to threats or intimidation.
  • The nature of the original allegation.
  • The victim’s justifications for ending her cooperation with the prosecution.
  • Anyone with whom the victim has discussed the case, particularly anyone who has advised them.
  • Details on any related civil actions that have been or are being taken.

Statements of support withdrawal can then get utilized as evidence in present or future criminal procedures and the family court system.

Either of these scenarios and many more might cause a witness to wish to retract their statement:

  • When the witness later learned that they had misidentified someone.
  • When the witness made the statement, they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and afterward realized it was false or doubtful.
  • When the witness realizes that the statement contradicts the information provided to the police, they may need a retract it.
  • If the witness no longer wants to testify in the case.
  • If the defendant threatens the witness or another party and is worried for their safety, or if the witness first lied to the police.

Recanting Your Statement As a Defendant

The court’s decision is frequently unaffected whenever a defendant seeks to retract a statement. A criminal who confesses to police may subsequently desire to retract their confession. The court will almost undoubtedly decide that the initial statement is still acceptable as proof of the defendant’s guilt.

On the other hand, the defendant might claim that they made a forced testimony. Several documented incidents of police intimidation led to innocent persons confessing to crimes they were not guilty of committing. To get your initial confession invalidated, your criminal defense attorney would most likely investigate the cops to whom you confessed.

Penalties for Providing False Information to the Police?

Someone can make a police statement for certain reasons, including legitimate reasons, getting another person in trouble, or for revenge. You can be charged with making a false claim against someone if you do it intending to get them into trouble.

Under California Penal Code 148.5, the crime of false reporting a crime is a misdemeanor. The prosecution must establish that you reported to a peace officer, district attorney, or deputy district attorney that a felony or misdemeanor had been committed and you knew the report was false. If convicted of this crime, you face up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 base fine.


After your arrest, there may still be an active investigation, a pre-trial hearing, and a series of options to have the charges dropped or reduced depending on the evidence discovered. The defense of your case does not begin on the day of trial.

If the jury must hear in court, the below are some of the legal defenses open to you:

You believed it to be true the moment you made the report. Lawyers may be able to argue you had a reasonable belief the report was accurate or had no reason to believe the information was not correct.
Someone coerced you to make a false report. You may be able to allege that you were pressured into filing a false police report of a crime in some situations. It may happen if you were compelled to claim a car theft in order to receive insurance fraudulently. If our attorneys can demonstrate that “compulsion” was used, you may be able to escape a conviction.
You did not submit a fake report. In certain situations, the police would overstate the facts against you. In some circumstances, your attorney may be able to argue that the information you supplied in the police report was correct. You will not be guilty of filing a false police report of a crime if we are successful.

While it is up to the prosecution to prove your guilt, a strong defense is preferable to none.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

If you or someone you know is looking for legal representation in civil or criminal court, the attorneys at Esfandi Law Group can provide you with the answers you need.

Need an Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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