Summary: While false reporting to law enforcement authorities is a crime, it very often goes unprosecuted. The Malicious False Reporting Relief Act allows a person to bring a civil action against someone who falsely calls the police on them.
Based on Indiana HB 1481 (2021)
Note: There’s been an increase in false 911 calls, including so-called “swatting,” intended to harass or intimidate a targeted individual. While false reporting is a crime, it often goes unprosecuted.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Malicious False Reporting Relief Act.”
SECTION 2. PURPOSE
This law is enacted to protect residents from harassment and improve the administration of justice.
SECTION 3. MALICIOUS FALSE REPORTING
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) CAUSE OF ACTION
1) A person may bring an action against another person for malicious false reporting if the person is able to establish both of the following:
a) The other person made a false report to a law enforcement agency knowing that the report was false.
b) As a result of the report, the person was questioned, detained or arrested by a law enforcement officer.
2) A person may bring an action under this chapter even if the other person has not been prosecuted for, has not been convicted of, or has been acquitted of the crime of false reporting as described in [Cite existing criminal section].
3) A separate cause of action may be brought by each person damaged by the other person’s actions under this section.
1) A person bringing an action for malicious false reporting may recover:
a) actual and punitive damages;
b) the costs of the action; and
c) reasonable attorney’s fees.
2) In determining the amount of damages under this section, the trier of fact shall consider whether the other person’s actions:
a) implicated a right protected under the Constitution of the United States or this state;
b) were intended to discriminate against the person;
c) caused the person to feel harassed, humiliated, or embarrassed;
d) caused the person to be expelled from a place in which the person was lawfully located; or
e) damaged the person’s reputation or standing in the community or financial, economic, consumer or business prospects or interests.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.