Perjury is the crime of lying under oath. Many people assume that perjury is only a crime when someone lies during sworn testimony in Court. The fact is that anytime a person takes an oath to tell the truth and allegedly fails to do so, a Prosecutor might bring perjury charges.
A conviction for a perjury charge could result in harsh penalties without the help of a Tequesta perjury Lawyer. It is critical for anyone threatened with perjury charges to get help from a dedicated Attorney at Leifert & Leifert right away.
Although Florida law defines perjury as making a statement they believe to be false under oath, the law treats people who allegedly perjure themselves differently depending on whether the false statement was made in an official or unofficial setting.
Florida Statute Title XLVI, § 837.011. sets forth the difference. Official proceedings are matters that take place in a court or before any officer of any legislative, administrative, or government agency. The law considers anything else an unofficial proceeding.
When the alleged perjury occurs in an unofficial proceeding it is a first-degree Misdemeanor. When it occurs in an official proceeding it is a third-degree Felony. However, if the perjury occurs in an official proceeding and it relates to a capital Felony, the alleged perjury could be charged as a second-degree Felony.
There are several elements that a Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve a perjury conviction.
Person Authorized to Administer Oaths
The statement that is the subject of the perjury charge must have made their statement before a person who is authorized to administer oaths. Such people include Public Notaries, Judges, Administrative Law Judges, Referees, Special Masters, etc.
Statement Under Oath
When a person is admonished that they must tell the truth and is asked to affirm that they understand they must be truthful, that is considered an oath. There is no requirement that the person place a hand on the Bible or other religious text.
To prove perjury the Prosecutor must prove that the accused believed their statement to be false when they made it. If someone made a statement under oath believing it to be false, that person could be charged with perjury even if the statement was actually true. The person’s intent to make a false statement is an essential element of a perjury charge. The Prosecutor need not prove that the statement was false.
The Prosecutor must prove that the false statement was material, or relevant, to the proceedings. In proving this element, the alleged Perjuror’s belief or intent does not matter. A person who made material a false statement could be charged with perjury even if they thought the statement was not material.
Get in Touch with a Tequesta Perjury Attorney Today
When facing a criminal charge, it is essential to get the best people on your team. An accomplished criminal defense Attorney at Leifert & Leifert could analyze the strength of the Prosecutor’s case and assert defenses that exploit any weak areas.
The stakes are high, and a committed advocate can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case. Contact a Tequesta perjury Lawyer to schedule a complimentary consultation and case review.