Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Defending Perjury Charges

Lying under oath can land you in prison! Perjury is a serious crime and an affront to the justice system. If you are accused of perjury - willfully and knowingly lying after taking an oath to tell the truth, or signing a document that you know contains false assertions, you could serve up to four years in state prison and be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Perjury charges are more serious than most people realize. If are being investigated or have been charged with perjury, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez and Partners to discuss your legal situtaion, the criminal justice system, defenses, and your legal options.

Perjury Law in California

Perjury is a felony in California. California law penalizes anyone who willfuly or knowingly makes false statements while under oath. Perjury is not just lying to the court. It can also be lying under oath in a civil deposition or a written affidavit or declaration. It is also a crime to procure or influence another person to commit perjury, commonly referred to a Subornation of Perjury. To convict for Subordination of Perjury the person procurred must have actually perjured himseld or herself.

California Penal Code section 118 defines perjury as: "Every person who, having taken an oath that he or she will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any of the cases in which the oath may by law of the State of California be administered, willfully and contrary to the oath, states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, and every person who testifies, declares, deposes or certifies under penalty of perjury in any of the cases in which the testimony, declarations, depositions, or certification is permitted by law of the State of California under penalty of perjury and willfully states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, is guilty of perjury."

Some examples of perjury include:

  • To lie while answering a question when testifying as a witness during a trial
  • To claim to make less money per year than you actually make while completing a sworn affidavit during divorce proceedings in court.
  • To make two statements that contradict each other during a court proceeding, but not admit that one of the statements is false
  • To lie on a driver's license application
  • To make a false statement on a loan application signed under penalty of perjury.

The prosecutor must prove the following five elements to obtain a conviction:

  • That you knowingly gave a false answer to a question after taking an oath that you would tell the truth in court;
  • That you signed a sworn statement as being true when you knew it contained false information;
  • That you reasonably understood what was meant by the person asking the question while you were under oath;
  • That your statement was false at the time you made it; and
  • That you willfully and knowingly made a statement that contained a false material fact or concealed a material fact.

Perjury Penalties

The penalties for a perjury conviction vary from no jail time to four years in state prison. First time offenders with no prior criminal history may be looking at zero days in jail, formal probation, fines, community service and restitution. The exact sentence depends on other external factors that come into play, such as the judge, the prosecutor and the victim. A perjury conviction may impact your ability to obtain gainful employment, career advancement and denial of certain business or real estate loans, and professional licenses. The outcome of your case depends in large part on your criminal defense attorney's knowledge, skill and experience. That is why it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you with your perjury case.

Los Anegles Perjury Attorneys

If you are facing a perjury charge or are being investigated for perjury, contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your particular situation and how we may best represent you. We take pride in our work and our case results reflect our commitment and dedication to our clients. We have helped many of our clients avoid harsh penalties in their criminal cases. Rest assured that we will defend your case aggressively and do all that we can to minimize the effects on your life.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney if you are facing perjury charges to schedule your consultation and discuss how we may best represent you.