What Can I Do If Someone Is Lying to the Court?

Witnesses including parties to the case provide testimony to the court that the judge and jury consider. When witnesses testify to the court, they do so under oath. They also do so under the risk of facing criminal charges if they lie to the court. There are steps that another person can take whether a party or an observer to inform the court of lies.

Provide Testimony

A person who knows that someone else has lied to the court may be called as a witness by the adverse party. In some cases, such a witness is the adverse party. The court can hear both sides of the story and evaluate which story they believe more. Such testimony may occur in criminal proceedings, as well as civil cases, including commercial disputes, family law matters or probate disputes. Even if this testimony does not completely prove that the other side is lying, having a witness provide contrary testimony can call into question the credibility of the first witness. This can cause the judge or jury to question other statements that the witness made.


A person cannot simply stand up in court and declare that someone is lying to the court. Instead, his or her attorney has the job of questioning the initial witness during cross-examination. During this time, he or she can try to demonstrate inconsistencies in the initial witness’ testimony to put his or her credibility in question. The jury can accept a witness’ testimony in whole or in part, or it can choose not to believe a witness at all.

Provide Evidence

The overwhelming problem with simply providing contrary testimony is that the argument becomes one of he-said, she-said. However, additional evidence can help provide an objective background that better informs the truth of what actually occurred. For example, surveillance footage, audio recordings, pictures and other objective evidence can be coupled with a witness’ testimony to refute previous statements made by the initial witness.


Perjury is the criminal act of lying or making statements to misrepresent something while under oath. Lying under oath disrupts the judicial process and is taken very seriously. Being convicted of perjury can result in serious consequences, including probation and fines. For federal perjury, a person can be convicted by up to five years in prison. For state perjury convictions, a similar sentence in a state prison may be imposed.

Additionally, perjury can have consequences on a person’s career. An individual convicted of perjury may not pass security clearance or be eligible for certain jobs. If the individual is not a citizen, such a conviction can result in immigration consequences. Additionally, a conviction can result in a professional license if truthfulness is vital to the job.

Jury Instruction

The party who believes that the other side has presented untruthful testimony can request that the judge give a jury instruction regarding the credibility of evidence. Such an instruction can state that the jury has the ability to weigh the evidence presented and to make their own impressions regarding credibility and the weight to give each piece of evidence.

Legal Assistance

Individuals who believe that someone is lying to the court may choose to discuss this issue with a lawyer. A lawyer can explain the options available and what can be to remedy the situation.

Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.

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