The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Did LiLo Lie to Cops, Possess an Open Container?

Last week, TMZ broke the news that Lindsay Lohan was hospitalized after a car accident. She was released shortly thereafter, thankfully suffering only minor injuries.

Since then, what appeared to be a somewhat unremarkable high speed rear-ending has become much more. According to TMZ, her story fluctuated between blaming the truck driver and blaming brake failure on the rented vehicle.

What could really get her into trouble, however, was an "inconsistency" between her story and her assistant's story. She told the police that her assistant was driving. Her assistant, when questioned separately, said that Lohan was behind the wheel, reports TMZ.

Lying to the police is an offense here in California, as it would be in most places. Giving false information to the police is a misdemeanor offense, which may carry jail time on its own.

Since LiLo is on probation, she could go back to jail for violating the terms of her probation. That would be in addition to whatever penalties she faces for the alleged lie.

Plus, if it turns out that there was some crime in progress, such as a DUI (which has been ruled out here), the crime of lying to a police officer, or making someone else lie to a police officer, becomes a felony offense.

In addition to that trouble, TMZ reports that there may have been an open container of alcohol in the vicinity of the crash. To be clear, LiLo was not drinking. She tested negative for alcohol and drugs. However, it is a crime to possess an open container in a moving vehicle.

Plus, the alcohol was in a clear water bottle, which is every college student's favorite way to sneak alcohol into public places. (Not that we'd know anything about that.)

One law enforcement officer said that the bottle was found in the trunk, which would be perfectly legal. Another said that it was found in the "debris field" and was tossed into the trunk when the car was towed away.

If it was the latter, it sounds like it may have been tossed out of the car after the wreck. Either way, good luck to the ambitious officer who tries to prove that it was inside the passenger area before the collision.

Though the circumstances sound suspicious, you can't prosecute what you can't prove.

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