The ability to rely on an individual testimony in either civil or criminal legal proceedings is an essential part of the American judiciary system. If someone lies under oath or provides an untruthful statement to police, they could be found guilty of committing perjury, a crime that carries significant legal consequences.
If you are facing allegations of lying under oath or giving a false statement to police, you may need the assistance of a qualified legal professional. A Hennepin County perjury lawyer could help you build a defense that is tailored to your specific situation and allow you to fight back against your charges.
Elements of Perjury
Under Minnesota Statute Sec. 609.48, an individual who knowingly makes a false material statement is guilty of perjury in the following situations:
- In or regarding a proceeding, action, or hearing in which the statement must be made under oath
- In any writing required by law to be under oath
- In an unsworn foreign declaration while physically located outside the United States’ boundaries
- In a document filed with a court or presented to a judge that is signed under penalty of perjury
- Any other scenario under which the law imposes the penalties of perjury without specifying a sentence
Additionally, if an individual knowingly makes two inconsistent statements and the relevant circumstances would require that one be false, they can be convicted on a perjury cause of action. In this situation, the statute of limitations for prosecuting the alleged perjury would begin when the declarant made the first statement.
An experienced Hennepin County attorney could advise an accused declarant of their rights in a criminal action and show them how to mount an effective defense to perjury charges.
Penalties for Lying Under Oath
If an individual is convicted of perjury, the potential sentencing depends on the scenario in which they made the false statement. If the defendant lied in a criminal trial for a felony charge or within an application for an explosives-use permit or license, the penalty can be up to seven years’ imprisonment and up to $14,000 in fines. For all other perjury convictions, the defendant may be subject to a sentence of up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Defense Strategies in Perjury Cases
Several affirmative defenses can help an individual avoid a conviction, including the following arguments:
- The allegedly perjurious statement was, in fact, true
- The defendant believed the statement was true
- The defendant gave the false statement under duress
- The defendant was not under a legal obligation to tell the truth
Barred Defenses to a Perjury Charge
However, Minnesota law explicitly classifies some defenses as impermissible to perjury claims. For example, when contesting their perjury charges, a defendant may not allege that the oath was improperly administered. They also may not allege that they were not competent to give the statement, that they did not know the statement was material to the case, that the statement did not affect the proceedings, or that the statement was inadmissible as evidence
A Hennepin County perjury attorney could direct an accused person to the most valuable arguments to invoke while helping them avoid any invalid defenses.
Consult a Hennepin County Perjury Attorney for Advice
Perjury is a serious criminal offense in Minnesota, and the laws surrounding this crime can be complex. The specific circumstances and appropriate defenses to invoke differ in every perjury matter, so it may be wise to enlist legal representation before choosing how to proceed.
If you are facing criminal charges for lying under oath or providing a false statement, a Hennepin County perjury lawyer could use their experience in this area of law to help you build a compelling case. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.