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Failure to Report a Crime
3 Key Features Explained

Failure to report a crime, also commonly referred to as “failure to report a felony” or “misprision of felony,” is defined as the act of being aware that a serious crime has been committed and intentionally failing to report it to law enforcement.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What are the Elements of Failure to Report a Crime?

Key features of failure to report a crime typically include:

  • Knowledge of a Felony - The individual must have knowledge that a felony, which, as opposed to a misdemeanor, is a serious crime, has been committed.
  • Intent to Conceal - The neglect in reporting the crime must be intentional, suggesting that the person knowingly chose not to disclose information about the incident. Mere ignorance of the crime may not be enough to qualify as failing to report a crime.
  • Failure to Report - There must be an actual failure on the individual's behalf to report the felony to appropriate authorities.

Is Failure to Report a Crime Also a Crime?

In certain situations, people may have a legal obligation to report felonies, especially if they are in a position of responsibility or authority. Depending on the circumstances, failure to report a crime may result in criminal charges, civil liability, or professional consequences.

Have You Failed to Report a Crime?

If you or someone you know is uncertain about your legal obligations in a particular situation, or have concerns related to reporting a crime, you should consult with a legal professional that can provide guidance based on the specific laws of your relevant jurisdiction.

It's important to understand that laws pertaining to failure to report a crime vary by jurisdiction, and the specific elements required for the offense may differ. Some jurisdictions may have specific statutes regarding the duty to report felonies, while others may rely on more general principles of misprision of a felony.

Also Read: Can You Still File a Police Report After Days?

What is Misprision of a Felony?

Misprision of a felony is the crime of concealing or failing to report knowledge of a felony to law enforcement. The term "misprision" implies a deliberate act of concealment or neglect to report the crime, which is distinct from the actual commission of the felony. In most jurisdictions, misprision of a felony is classified as a criminal offense, and it is based on the notion that people have a legal and ethical duty to report serious crimes.

What is CANRA?

Also known as California’s “mandatory reporting law,” the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) makes it a crime if certain professionals do not report instances of actual or suspected child abuse and child neglect.

Under CANRA, mandatory reporters must tell of abuse and neglect victimization occurrences to the police department and social services agencies within 36 hours of learning, or suspecting of, the abuse and/or neglect.

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