Florida criminalizes perjury offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies – both of which can result in paying hefty fines, serving time in prison, and having a criminal record.
If you have been charged with perjury, contact an experienced Plantation perjury lawyer to review your situation and determine what legal defenses are available to you. Perjury charges should always be taken seriously and having experienced counsel on your side can make all the difference.
Legal Definition of Perjury
The offense of perjury, more commonly known as lying under oath, prohibits someone from making false statements in legal proceedings. According to Florida Statutes Section 837.011 et seq., Florida distinguishes between perjury offenses which are committed during official proceedings and those which are committed outside of official proceedings.
Perjury Offenses During Official Proceedings
Perjury offenses which occur during official proceedings are generally classified as third-degree felonies which can result in serving up to five years in prison, paying fines of up to $5,000, or both.
It is important to note that perjury offenses committed during legal proceedings regarding a capital felony which result in the death penalty or life imprisonment may be classified as second-degree felonies – which can result in serving up to 15 years in prison, paying fines of up to $10,000, or both.
Official proceedings are those which generally take place before a judge, magistrate, or someone who takes testimony through a legislative body, court, or government / administrative agency.
Perjury Offenses During Unofficial Proceedings
Perjury offenses which occur during unofficial proceedings are generally classified as first-degree misdemeanors which can result in serving up to one year in prison, paying fines of up to $1,000, or both.
Unofficial proceedings are those which generally involve statements made in relation to insurance matters or regarding official documents such as marriage licenses. A qualified Plantation perjury lawyer can work diligently to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Establishing and Defending Perjury Charges
To establish perjury offenses in either situation, prosecutors must show that the person understood and appreciated what it meant to take an oath, they took it, and then made a false statement about what they knew to be the truth. The person must have known that the testimony they provided was untruthful for perjury charges to exist.
Conversely, perjury charges can be defended by recanting a statement or claiming duress, which occurs when someone was coerced or threatened and felt they would be in imminent danger if they told the truth. However, the truth of a statement itself is not a defense in a perjury charge.
In other words, if the perjured statement happened to true (although not the truth in the proceeding at issue), that is not a defense.
Speaking to a Plantation Perjury Attorney
Florida perjury charges should never be fought without the counsel of a Plantation perjury lawyer. Let an attorney review the charges against you and the context and venue in which the statements were made so that they can put together a strong legal defense.
Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your situation, it may be possible to have the charges against you dropped or mitigated through a plea bargain. Every situation is different. An attorney can help you evaluate every legal course of action available to you so that no stone goes unturned. Your future is important – and a qualified Plantation perjury attorney can help you protect it.