Vehicle Code 31 VC – False Statements / Information To A Police Officer

If you’ve recently gotten a piece of mail saying that you were guilty of violating Vehicle Code 31 VC, you might be wondering just what that’s all about. Below, you’ll find everything you should know about this vehicle code violation, including:

What is Vehicle Code 31 VC?

The formal, legislative definition of a Vehicle Code 31 VC reads: “No person shall give, either orally or in writing, information to a peace officer while in the performance of his duties under the provisions of this code when such person knows that the information is false.”

In simpler terms, this definition is telling you that it’s illegal to give knowingly false information to a peace officer (aka a police officer) when you are interacting with them. This could be false information in writing (such as a borrowed driver’s licence), or it could be an answer to a knowingly false answer to a question that the police officer asks. This kind of violation applies to any publicly declared peace officer on the job.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 31 VC?

Just like you read above, this violation means that you are knowingly deceiving or giving false information to a peace officer/police officer, who is an agent of the law, formally speaking.  Still feel a little murky on what it means in the moment? Let’s take a look at an example using both written information as well as a question/response situation.

ill Smith has been pulled over by a police officer on a residential street on her way home from the grocery store within the state of California. When the peace officer asks to see her licence and registration, she hands the law officer her sister’s licence instead of her own. She knows that it is her sister’s licence and not her own, yet she hands it over anyway. In this situation, she is knowingly giving false information/documentation to a police officer.

Now let’s say that Jill Smith is pulled over in an identical situation (assuming she hands over the correct licence this time) and the peace officer asks her: “Do you have any alcohol in the vehicle?”. If Jill answers “No, officer, I don’t” but she knowingly does have alcohol in her vehicle, this is considered giving a false answer to a police officer.

In both of these examples of a Vehicle Code 31 VC violation, of course, the focus is on the fact that Jill knows this information to be false. If Jill hadn’t realized she was handing over her sister’s licence, as in the first example, or she genuinely forgot that she had alcohol in her car, like in the second example, she technically wouldn’t be guilty of a Vehicle Code 31 VC violation.

What can I do about this violation?

If you receive notification of this violation, it’s formally considered to be a misdemeanor.  This is a legal term that is used when describing a crime that is punishable with up to 12 months in jail. When compared to other crimes or violations, it’s considered “minor” (again, another legal term). That being said, it’s still a serious offence to avoid.

As far as punishment is concerned, receiving a Vehicle Code 31 VC citation can lead to you spending up to 6 months in a county jail and a fine of up to $1, 000 that is payable to the court. If you are guilty of this crime, the best thing to do is plead guilty to the offence and agree to pay the fine, as well as accept the court’s sentence (or, punishment, as it is more commonly known).

Did you receive this citation but feel you are innocent of the charge such as in Jill’s case of genuinely making a mistake? You can dispute it in due legal process, though you will need to prove your innocence in a court of a law.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

In some cases, there are other possible vehicle code violations that can be connected to violating Vehicle Code 31 VC. In this example, a common connection is:

  • Vehicle Code 20 VC: This violation is related to using a false name or knowingly submitting false paperwork at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or to the Department of California Highway Patrol (CHP).

These violations sound pretty similar to each other, don’t they?  In some cases, you may be charged with Vehicle Code 20VC instead of Vehicle Code 31 VC, or you may be charged with both. This decision is up to the court and is related to what you did to be charged with either of the citations, or both of them.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

No, this kind of a ticket is not eligible for traffic school.  In order to qualify for any registered traffic school, such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL, you must receive a moving violation.  In other words, the violation has to be related to your vehicle being in motion (ex: failing to stop at a red light).  If you get a ticket that is not related to a moving violation (like this one), it is not eligible for traffic school.

Do you want to make extra sure, or are you looking for more information on the eligibility? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to give you the confirmation either way, as well as explain why.  You can always check with the court that is responsible for issuing your ticket, too, as they will know your personal record details.

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 31 VC violation?

If you want to make sure that you don’t get yourself in a situation where you are guilty of a Vehicle Code 31 VC violation, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s one of the easiest tickets to avoid!

Every time you get into your vehicle, make sure that both your licence and registration, as well as insurance, are easily accessible so that you can grab them easily if you are ever pulled over.  If you’re nervous about that, consider practicing the pullover and reaching to grab your information. Practice makes perfect, after all, right? You’ll also want to make sure that your car doesn’t have anyone else’s information in it so that you don’t mix up someone else’s licence, especially if it’s a fake, with your own. This just helps you know that everything is accurate and up to date if you ever do get pulled over

When it comes to questions that a peace officer may ask, there are a few things that you can do. Firstly, talk to your driving teacher (whether it’s one from an institution or a parent) about common questions to expect, and recommendations on how to answer them. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you always answer honestly. However, knowing what to expect can be really helpful to taking some of the worry out.

Also, take your time in answering any questions to make sure that you understand the question, and that you are knowingly answering honestly rather than just trying to keep yourself out of trouble. Using Jill’s example again, the better answer would have been to answer that she did have alcohol in the car. No matter how “guilty” or “bad” the answer may feel, the honest answer is always, always going to be better than lying.

On that same note, make sure that you understand the question properly. Getting pulled over, even if it’s just a routine stop, is intimidating to even the best drivers. If you only heard part of the question, ask the police officer to repeat it. If you don’t completely understand the question, tell them, and they’ll rephrase. Again, honesty is the best policy. Keep in mind: getting a Vehicle Code 31 VC violation implies that you are knowingly providing false information or answering a question falsely. If you don’t know that it’s false, or it was an oversight that you genuinely forgot, the violation doesn’t apply.



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