A number of different charges may result from a false statement given while under oath. One of the most common is perjury, and its penalties include substantial prison sentences and thousands of dollars in fines. Fortunately, there are defenses available in many cases that may reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
If you are facing criminal charges for lying under oath, you should not attempt to enter legal proceedings without qualified representation. A Bloomington perjury lawyer could help you mount a compelling defense against the prosecution’s case and mitigate the potential consequences of a conviction.
Perjury Under State Law
It is illegal to knowingly lie or make a false statement while under oath or affirmation. Untrue statements made to law enforcement officers, the court, or other public officials may constitute perjury. If a defendant makes a false statement in any of the following situations, they could be charged with perjury:
- During an action, proceeding, or hearing in which a statement is required to be under oath or affirmation
- In any declaration that is signed under the penalty of perjury
- In a writing that is required or authorized to be under oath or affirmation
Any one of the above scenarios could result in a criminal charge for perjury, among others. However, with the help of an experienced perjury attorney in the Bloomington area, you could counter the prosecution’s arguments in court.
Use of Inconsistent Statements
An inconsistent statement occurs when a person is required to make statements under oath at two different times, and at least one of their statements is allegedly false. When this occurs, the prosecutor can attempt to prove that the two statements are inconsistent, and both cannot be true. This would be considered sufficient proof of perjury, even without knowing which statement is actually false.
Penalties for a Perjury Conviction
Most perjury offenses are subject to the possibility of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. This is a felony level offense and carries a certain stigma along with the loss of certain constitutional rights.
If the false statement was made in relation to a felony charge, or in an application for an explosives license or use permit, the penalties are increased. A defendant then faces a possible sentence of up to seven years, fines of up to $14,000, or both may occur.
Defenses for Perjury Cases
While the potential penalties for perjury are severe, defenses exist that could possibly reduce the charges or have them dismissed entirely. Every situation is different, and each defense may apply differently to each case. A nearby perjury attorney could make the best use of these defenses to help a criminal defendant.
Possible defenses to perjury charges include, but are not limited to:
- Demonstrating that the false statement was not material
- Showing that the defendant honestly believed the statement to be true, even if it was actually false
- Proving that the statement was not false
- Showing that the statement was never made under oath
A particular defense may or may not be available depending on the unique circumstances of a person’s case, though skilled legal counsel could help determine the best course of action.
A Bloomington Perjury Attorney Could Assist Your Case
Perjury is a serious crime that could have lasting consequences for convicted individuals. If you are charged with making false statements, you may need an experienced Bloomington perjury lawyer to defend your case and protect your rights. Call today for a confidential consultation.