“The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is a statement we’ve all heard on popular crimes shows, but what does it really mean? If you engage in deliberate misrepresentation when you swear under oath, in an affidavit or in a sworn statement, you could be looking at a perjury charge. Giving intentionally false testimony is considered perjury. Essentially, perjury is lying under oath. If you’re facing a perjury charge, on top of any other potential criminal charges, you need to get with a criminal defense attorney about your case immediately. Depending upon the circumstances of your individual case, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony perjury charges, so the sooner you get with your attorney, the better.
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Perjury is a charge associated with the deliberate misrepresentation of information. This means that you intentionally or willfully misrepresented or lied in a sworn statement. You should never face a perjury charge or conviction for mistakes made during a statement. It’s important to be very clear and consistent and speak with your lawyer before giving any sworn testimony, so you’re not tripped up when it’s time to give information. In order to convict, the prosecution will have to prove that you deliberately and intentionally mislead or lied to authorities. Issues with memories or mistakes that aren’t intentional should never be held against you as perjury.
False testimony can lead to perjury charges. Since not all cases are willful or intentional, this is only one element involved in cases involving perjury. Sometimes, through confusion or miscommunication, it’s possible to give false testimony, accidentally. If you’re being accused of giving false testimony, you need to get in touch with your lawyer immediately to get to the bottom of the situation.
Willfully and Intentionally
The second element of any perjury charge is intent. You shouldn’t be convicted of perjury if you accidentally gave false testimony. Perjury occurs when somebody intentionally and willfully misleads in their sworn statements or testimony. If you didn’t mean to produce false testimony or you simply made a mistake with the facts, bring this information to your lawyer swiftly.
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What About Inconsistent or Mistaken Testimony?
Perjury charges can happen from mistaken and inconsistent testimony. Just because your testimony has been somewhat inconsistent, that doesn’t mean that you should be facing perjury charges or convictions. Cases can take months and years to unfold in court, so it’s important to bring up any concerns or potential inconsistencies with your lawyer prior to giving any sworn statements or testimony.
Penalties for Perjury Convictions
Depending upon the unique circumstances of your individual case, you could be facing either misdemeanor or felony perjury charges. If convicted of a misdemeanor charge of perjury, you could be looking at fines and up to a year in jail. If convicted of a felony perjury charge, you could get sentenced to up to five years or more in a correctional prison facility. Heftier fines are also associated with felony perjury charges.
The Right to Remain Silent
You can’t commit perjury if your exercise your right to remain silent. That being said, you could be in violation of other laws. The best way to avoid perjury is to make sure you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest and initial charges. Getting on the same page as your lawyer for your defense is a great way to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. After any type of arrest, always politely request to speak with your lawyer, and decline any questioning or sworn statements until you’ve had a chance to speak with representation. This is a critical step in any case and it can potentially keep you out of jail and out of trouble.
When to Contact a Perjury Lawyer in Jackson
Most of the time, perjury is just an additional charge tacked on in an otherwise complex and complicated case. That being said, it can have serious implications if you’re convicted. It’s important to take any criminal charge seriously, as it can impact your future and your ability to get on with your life after a case. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor perjury charge or a felony perjury charge, the sooner you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney, the better chance you have at a favorable outcome in your case. If you have been arrested and charged with perjury in or around the Jackson Metro area, contact the skilled and proven criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation today.