Perjury is a crime wherein a witness willfully and intentionally making a false statement under oath during judicial proceedings. During court cases, whether civil or criminal, witnesses are called to testify for either the plaintiff or the defendant. There is no sure way to tell whether these individuals are slanting their testimonies in order put their own interests forward. In order to obtain a truthful testimony, courts put perjury laws in place.
Before a person testifies in court for a civil or criminal case, he or she is first sworn under oath to only provide truthful facts pertinent to the issue under question. In order for one to be charged with committing perjury, the false statement must be in regard to a pertinent fact or material in the case. Intentionally telling a lie in a testimony under oath is a criminal offense, as well as coercing another to commit perjury.
Persons charged with perjury can face penalties and incarceration. Under federal law, a person may be charged with perjury if he or she willfully states or subscribes any material which he or she does not reasonably believe to be true. A defendant who is found guilty of this crime could face up to five years in federal prison as well as significant fines. This crime can be committed in civil as well as criminal cases.
Some cases of perjury may be used as threats by the prosecution in order to coerce someone to provide information that will be favorable. Threats are often used by the prosecution towards a witness, but the cases of actual prosecutions for perjury are not significant in number. In some cases, a prosecution may try to set up a witness for a perjury trap wherein the prosecution deliberately calls a grand jury witness for the purpose of gathering information that can later be used to prosecute the witness for perjury.
If you would like to learn more about perjury, call the Joe Shemaria Law Firm today and consult with a qualified federal criminal defense attorney regarding perjury laws applicable to your case. We can evaluate your case and help to maximize your legal rights. Call now for a free consultation.