Perjury

Jan 25, 2014 by

Convictions carry heavy weight, therefore committing perjury is considered a federal crime. Perjury is an offence against the law where the person deliberately gives false or untrue statements while under oath and at the time of a judicial hearing. Giving false testimony can have serious effects on the outcome of a trial, therefore in the United States it is treated as a serious felony offence. A person caught and proven to have committed perjury can be given up to five years of prison sentence, a hefty fine, or both.

There are basic sets of factors that the state should prove in order to justify that a person has committed perjury. First, while under oath, the person has given a false statement. Second, that the falsified statement should be relevant to the trail. And third, the person should have a specific motive or intent to give the false statement. If a judge has determined that a defendant (who is later convicted) has given a false testimony, the judge has the right to enforce sentencing enhancements. This means the defendant’s sentence can be increased.

Even while not under oath, a person can still be charged with perjury, specifically if they signed and submit documents that are “under penalty of perjury”. Income tax returns, loan applications, and even applying for driver’s license can put a person in danger of perjury if they give false information.

Many people undermine the consequences of committing perjury, even while at court hearings. In the same regard, subornation of perjury (where another person is forced to give a false statement by another person) is also a separate crime and is also punishable by law. Another variation, the false swearing, is also a felony. False swearing happens when a false statement is given while under oath, but it was given while not being in an official hearing. Both of them are punishable by fines, jail time, or possibly both.

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