A perjury charge is viewed as a serious offense. Making a false statement under oath can severely damage your defense in a criminal case, and a history of such statements could corrupt your integrity and credibility in the eyes of both the Court and the community.
Someone who allegedly committed such an offense may strongly benefit from the help of a Palm Beach Gardens perjury defense lawyer at Leifert & Leifert. The legal system can be complex, therefore, seeking legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney could be the best way for you to fully understand the charge and any potential legal options. Our attorneys at Leifert & Leifert are standing by to help examine your case.
Defining Perjury in Palm Beach Gardens
In a typical perjury case, the Prosecution typically must prove the defendant swore an oath—as defined by Florida Statutes §837.011—to tell the truth before they made a false statement. An accusation of perjury committed during an official proceeding is usually treated as a Felony.
Generally, it is considered perjurious when someone lies under oath. Common scenarios where perjury may occur include:
- An official proceeding presided over by a judge in which you gave a deposition or testimony
- A non-official setting in which a false statement is made under legally enforceable circumstances, such as giving false information on a marriage license or during an insurance claims process
Providing false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime may also be considered a perjury offense. However, some form of recording or written records of the allegedly perjurious act must typically exist to prove perjury was committed. Either way, a Palm Beach Gardens perjury defense lawyer could help you consider your options and contest any evidence levied against you in court.
Potential Penalties for Perjury
Generally, penalties for perjury during an official proceeding are punitive in nature. A conviction may result in a term of five years in prison and possibly a fine up to $5,000. In cases regarding a Capital Felony that could result in life imprisonment or capital punishment for the accused party, perjury is treated as a Second-Degree Felony, which may on its own incur 15 years in prison and potentially a fine of $10,000.
In most non-official proceedings, perjury is typically penalized by up to one year in jail and may include a fine of $1,000. Although this may be a more lenient penalty than one for an official proceeding, the consequence can still significantly limit someone’s freedom, so consulting with a Palm Beach Gardens perjury defense attorney is generally a key component of a successful outcome in any kind of perjury case.
Defending Against a Perjury Charge
Materiality is a term commonly used to describe how a statement could influence the decision-making process of an organization or official proceeding. However, courts in Florida typically do not consider whether someone charged with perjury had knowledge of the materiality of their alleged false statement. In other words, even if you did not realize your statement may influence such a decision-making process, you could still face a perjury charge in Palm Beach Gardens.
Recanting A Statement
In certain circumstances, recanting or “taking back” a false statement could serve as a defense against perjury. While specific rules apply, a person typically may recant a statement in a continuous proceeding. Generally, recanting includes acknowledging the falsity of the statement and taking it back before another legal party recognizes the falsehood.
Returning the next day and taking back the statement usually does not satisfy the rules for a successful recanting, which means you could still face a perjury charge even if you are looking to recant. Additionally, if the false statement already affected the proceeding in any important way, the statement usually cannot be recanted.
Duress is another potential defense against a perjury charge. Typically, this means that a person under oath was in immediate and proximate fear that being truthful would have negative consequences and lied under oath to prevent those consequences from occurring. However, if you make two or more false statements in separate proceedings, you could still face a Third-Degree Felony perjury charge. Speak with an accomplished defense attorney today to learn more about how a legal professional at Leifert & Leifert could build a strong defense.
Talk to a Palm Beach Gardens Perjury Attorney
Perjury is both a complex and often-confusing charge. Fortunately, retaining a skilled Palm Beach Gardens perjury defense lawyer who understands these charges may be advantageous to your case. Our attorneys could review your case and examine the facts in your situation, so contact Leifert & Leifert today for a free consultation.