Perjury also referred to as false statements or false testimony is commited when a person intentionally lies under oath, when testifying in court, during administrative hearings, giving a deposition or in answers to interrogatories.
Perjury can also be committed by knowingly signing or acknowledging a written legal document (such as affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, deed, license application, tax return) that contains false information. Perjury is regulated by federal and state legislation.
To consult State Legislation regarding perjury laws and regulations please see the Criminal Code by State page.
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Perjury Law - US
- Subornation of Perjury
To establish a case of subornation of perjury, a prosecutor must demonstrate that perjury was committed; that the defendant procured the perjury corruptly, knowing, believing or having reason to believe it to be false testimony; and that the defendant knew, believed or had reason to believe that the perjurer had knowledge of the falsity of his or her testimony.
- ABA - Criminal Justice Section
Founded in 1920, the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association has over 20,000 members including prosecutors, private defense counsel, appellate and trial judges, law professors, correctional and law enforcement personnel, law students, public defenders, and other criminal justice professionals. With its diverse, multi-disciplinary membership, the Criminal Justice Section is uniquely situated to address the pressing issues facing today's criminal justice system.
- Criminal Code of the United States - Perjury
Title 18 U.S.C.A. § 1621 codifies the Common Law of perjury and consists of (1) a false statement is made under oath or equivalent affirmation during a judicial proceeding; (2) the statement must be material or relevant to the proceeding; and (3) the witness must have the Specific Intent to deceive.
- False Declarations Before the Grand Jury or Court
In 1970, the scope of section 1621 was expanded by the enactment of 18 U.S.C.A. § 1623. Section 1623 changes the definition of intent from willfully offering false testimony to merely having knowledge that the testimony is false. In addition it adds to the definition of perjury to include the witness's use of information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material she knows contains a false material declaration, and includes proceedings that are ancillary to any court, such as affidavits and depositions, and Grand Jury proceedings.
- Perjury - Overview
A crime that occurs when an individual willfully makes a false statement during a judicial proceeding, after he or she has taken an oath to speak the truth. The common-law crime of perjury is now governed by both state and federal laws. In addition, the Model Penal Code, which has been adopted in some form by many states and promulgated by the Commission on Uniform State Laws, also sets forth the following basic elements for the crime of perjury: (1) a false statement is made under oath or equivalent affirmation during a judicial proceeding; (2) the statement must be material or relevant to the proceeding; and (3) the witness must have the Specific Intent to deceive.
- Perjury - United States
Before a defendant can be convicted of perjury or making a false statement, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements listed in the statute. Under Federal law, the most commonly used statutes are: Title 18 United States Code sections 1621, 1623 and1001. Usually, section 1621 is referred to as a "perjury" statute, and sections 1623 and 1001 are referred to as "false statements".
- Sentencing Guidelines - Perjury or Subornation of Perjury and Bribery of Witness
Section 2J1.3 of the Sentencing Guidelines applies to perjury and subornation of perjury offenses and, since November 1, 1993, to witness bribery.
Articles on HG.org Related to Perjury Law
- Refuting Perjured TestimonyWhen people testify in court, they are often told that they will be subject to penalty if they perjure themselves. However, there are various types of ways that a person can be subject to perjury charges. Perjury can have many disastrous consequences.
- 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.
- Filing a False Police ReportFiling a false police report is a crime under federal and state laws. However, the elements necessary to prove this crime and the severity of it vary by jurisdiction.
- How to Sue for Damages Resulting from PerjuryMany people have experienced this situation: in a hotly contested legal dispute, a witness lies on the stand to help out the other side. As a litigant, this can be one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable, and can literally destroy an otherwise solid case. So, is there any legal recourse against the witness that commits the perjury?
- What Can You Do When Someone Commits Perjury?Anyone who has ever had to rely on the testimony of others, whether in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding, has probably felt the cold knife of panic and disgust slice through their gut as someone testified in a manner they considered untruthful. Of course, many people can have many different interpretations of the same event, including some that seem wildly different than your recollection, simply because they had a different perspective.
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- Prosecutor Accused of Misconduct in Wrongful ConvictionThe Brady Rule requires prosecutors to disclose any evidence they discover that is favorable to the defendant – but all too often, prosecutors fail to comply, citing their duty to zealously prosecute the alleged crime. In a criminal case, prosecutors have enormous resources available, including police investigators to conduct in-depth interviews and research, extensive databases, and facilities and staff to analyze evidence with sophisticated (but not infallible) laboratory testing and analysis.
- Drug Charges and Their DefenseDrug offenses come in many varieties with one common factor, the penalties for a conviction are severe and may result in lengthy prison sentences and fines. An aggressive defense is necessary. Review this article related to drug charges and their defense.
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- All Criminal Law Articles
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