Federal Perjury Lawyers | Cheyenne Office
2515 Warren Ave, Suite 450, Cheyenne, WY 82003
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Perjury involves making false statements under oath in court or as part of a legal proceeding. Making false statements in a legal document can also be perjury, including signing a document under penalty of perjury if the document contains false information. The crime of perjury carries the possibility of a prison sentence and fines.
Perjury can be a state criminal offense or a federal offense. Generally, false statements in state court or in a state legal proceeding can be considered perjury under state law. In a federal legal action or when signing federal documents, misstatements or lies may be considered federal perjury.
Under the federal perjury statute, perjury involves making a statement that someone does not believe to be true. For federal perjury, making an oath or declaration that is stated to be true is perjury if the person willfully and contrary to the oath or declaration believes it to be untrue. Any declaration, verification, or statement made under penalty of perjury that is not true may also be perjury.
In order to prove perjury, federal prosecutors have to prove every element of the offense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is any doubt about any of the elements, a defendant should not be convicted of federal perjury charges. The element of perjury require proving the defendant:
A false statement has to be material to the proceedings. Material statements have a tendency to influence the case or proceeding. For example, in a federal extortion case, a witness falsely stated they were wearing black shoes instead of brown shoes, if the shoes are not an issue in the case, it may not be considered a material misstatement.
The defendant has to have the specific intent to make a false statement. Someone can give false testimony statement because of a mistake, faulty memory, or confusion without intending to lie.
After making a false statement in federal courts or signing a legal document that is not true, the person who made the statement may worry that they are going to get in trouble for the perjured testimony. The person may try to go to the next court proceeding to correct the misstatement to avoid punishment. However, recanting the false declaration or trying to correct the perjured statement may not be a full defense to perjury. Instead, recantation may be used as evidence that a defendant intended to make a willfully false statement at the time.
In a burglary trial, a witness identified the suspect as the person who was seen breaking a window and climbing into the victim’s home. Someone who is friends with the suspect lies to the court under oath and claims that they were with the suspect watching a movie at the time of the break-in. Making this false statement under oath is perjury because it is a material statement to the burglary case.
In this case, the suspect could also be charged with a crime. It may be a crime to persuade someone else to commit perjury under oath. If the suspect convinced the friend to lie in court, this may be considered “subornation of perjury.”
As a federal crime, perjury is a felony offense. If you are convicted of perjury charges, the maximum sentence is imprisonment for up to 5 years. Perjury penalties may also include monetary fines. A conviction for perjury can also have further consequences, including a felony criminal record. A felony may make it more difficult to find a job or find a place to live. A conviction for perjury can also limit holding public office or pursuing certain professions.
Perjury is a serious criminal offense and a conviction has long-term consequences. After a federal criminal defense lawyer reviews your case, they may be able to identify possible legal defenses, problems with the prosecutor’s case, and provide legal advice on the best defense strategies.
There are several legal defense options for a federal defense lawyer in a perjury case. Common defenses include showing the defendant was not under oath at the time, the defendant made a mistake instead of intentionally lied, or the untrue statements were not material to the case.
A criminal defense attorney can also negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. A beneficial plea bargain can help you reduce criminal penalties, avoid additional criminal charges, or get a reduced sentence, including avoiding jail time.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.
Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.