Perjury, also referred to as lying under oath or making a false statement, is an offense that can be punished very severely in Boca Raton depending on the circumstances. When perjury is committed during an official proceeding, the offense may be considered a very serious crime. If you are facing charges for making a false statement, a Boca Raton perjury lawyer from Leifert & Leifert can craft a strong defense to help you fight the charges. A skilled Attorney could work with all involved parties toward the best verdict for your case.
What is Considered Perjury?
Before someone can be convicted of perjury in Boca Raton, the law requires the Prosecution to prove that certain procedural elements were all in place. First, they must prove that the charged individual made a false statement and, at the time of making that statement, believed it to be false. In addition, the statement must match the statement reported in the document that charges the individual with the offense.
Furthermore, the statement must have been made while the individual was under oath. This means that the person making the statement specifically knew there was an obligation to tell the truth. The oath must have been administered or spoken to a designated Official while that Official was operating in the designated capacity.
Finally, the statement must concern a material matter. This is defined in section 837.011(3) of the Florida code as any topic that could affect the course or outcome of the proceeding. Whether a matter is material is a decision made by the Judge rather than a Jury.
It is not necessary to prove that the individual making the statement knew that it concerned a matter of material importance, nor is a lack of that knowledge a permissible defense to perjury. An individual may also commit the offense of perjury by making contradictory statements under oath during an official proceeding, according to Fla. Stat. §837.021(1).
Penalties for Lying Under Oath in Boca Raton
When a false statement is made during an official proceeding, the offense is usually considered a Third-Degree Felony. This is punishable by up to five years in Prison and a fine of up to $5,000.However, if the false statement is made in conjunction with the Prosecution of a capital Felony such as murder or certain drug trafficking offenses, the offense of perjury becomes a Second-Degree Felony. The maximum Prison sentence for this offense triples to 15 years and the potential fine increases to $10,000.
Perjury by contradictory statements is also a Third-Degree Felony unless it occurs in the course of official proceedings that relate to a Capital Felony. In this case, the offense escalates to a Second-Degree Felony. In situations where a false statement is made under oath, but not during an official proceeding, the perjury is treated as a First-Degree Misdemeanor. The penalty for this offense includes imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Elements of an Official Proceeding
Since perjury is treated so much more seriously when it takes place during an official proceeding, it is important to understand how the law defines such proceedings. Section 837.011(1) of the Florida code defines an official proceeding as a proceeding that occurs before an Official who is authorized to take evidence under oath. This includes administrative law Judges, hearing examiners, notaries, or other persons taking testimony.
Let a Boca Raton Perjury Attorney Help
Perjury is an offense that is governed by complex rules and requirements. Our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert have experience working with perjury charges in local Courts and know which defensive strategies to use, according to your circumstances. If you are facing charges involving perjury or making false statements, consult a Boca Raton perjury lawyer as soon as possible to gain a better understanding of the offense and learn your options for fighting those charges.