A court heard Sophie Pointon told police officers she had been sexually assaulted in the back of the cab she had been picked up in after a night out in Leeds city centre.
Pointon, 22, rang police in the early hours of April 22 this then continued the deception by signing a statement giving an account of the attack.
Leeds Crown Court heard the driver, a father-of-five, was tracked down and kept in custody for six hours. He was also unable to work for four weeks as a result of the claim.
Kate Bisset, prosecuting, said the driver was interviewed and said he could recall Pointon being “extremely drunk” when she got into his car holding a kebab.
He said Pointon threw a ten pound not at him when they reached the Hyde Park area but he refused to accept it as it was covered in oil from the kebab.
The driver said Pointon then became abusive and ran around the car opening doors. The prosecutor said: “He did not think much of it at the time because such incident with people who are intoxicated are not unusual.”
A recording of a conversation between the driver and a phone operator at his taxi office supported his account.
The court heard a GPS tracker fitted to the car also revealed Pointon’s description of the taxi journey to be untrue.
Pointon broke down in tears and asked if she could drop the charges when her account was challenged by police.
She pleaded guilty to perverting justice.
Denise Breen-Lawton, mitigating, said Pointon, of Corkland Road, Manchester, had been studying in Leeds at the time. She said her hopes of becoming a police officer were now ruined.
She was jailed for 16 months. Judge Christopher Batty told her: “Your malicious complaint has done a huge disservice to those seeking justice through the police and courts.”
The driver described in a statement how the false allegation had caused him to suffer from stress.