Top Billings, MT Perjury Lawyers Near You

Perjury Lawyers | Billings Office

401 North 31st Street, Suite 1500, Billings, MT 59101

Perjury Lawyers | Billings Office

49 North 15th St, Suite 1, Billings, MT 59101

Perjury Lawyers | Billings Office

115 North Broadway, Suite 310, Billings, MT 59101

Perjury Lawyers | Billings Office

401 North 31st St., Suite 805, Billings, MT 59101

Billings Perjury Information

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Find a Perjury Attorney near Billings

The Crime of Perjury

Perjury is the willful act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth during an official proceeding. For example, when a witness fails to testify at a trial truthfully, they can be charged with perjury. The state you live in will determine the specific elements of perjury. Depending on the specifics of your case an attorney can help defend you against these charges.

What Is the Definition of Perjury?

Perjury can be a difficult offense to comprehend, as many common misconceptions exist surrounding the nature of the crime given its prevalence in popular culture. Generally, perjury refers to instances in which — while under authorized oath — a person offering testimony or being questioned knowingly and intentionally makes a materially false statement.

The definition of what constitutes a material falsehood versus an immaterial falsehood pertains to the case itself. For example, lying about a potential murder weapon (type, whereabouts, who was holding it) is likely to be material — or relevant — to the case. However, making a false statement about what one served to their pet cat that day is far less likely to be judged as a material element to a murder case in which an eyewitness is being called to testify.

What Is the Difference Between Lying and Perjury?

On a superficial level, it may seem like the act of lying and the act of committing perjury are one and the same, but from a legal standpoint, there are several differences.

While lying might be a commonplace practice among humans, the telling of a falsehood is not considered to be perjury in all instances where the person being questioned is not placed under oath by an authorized public official. Lying to your spouse about where you were last night is simply relaying a falsehood, but lying to a court prosecutor about where you were last night is likely to be an example of perjury — whether you are a key witness or a suspect yourself.

People tell lies of all shapes and sizes. However, in order to qualify as perjury, a lie must be relevant — or material — to the case on trial. This is another point of differentiation from a standard lie, which often has no bearing on any greater point of relevance.

Finally, lies of omission are exempt from categorization as perjury. Perjury concerns itself with what is said, what is subscribed to and what is authorized by the person being questioned — not with what the witness did not say.

How Is Perjury Proven?

For perjury to be proven, several elements must be in play. First, the statement must be materially false, as discussed above. Second, the offender committing perjury must have knowingly, and intentionally, misled the court while under oath.

This can make proving an instance of perjury very difficult. While a material falsehood may be easy enough to prove via cross-examination and presentation of evidence, proving that a witness knowingly and intentionally misled the court can be a much more challenging bar to clear. Collecting evidence — say, in the form of text messages or emails — can be useful in proving the guilt of a potential perjurer.

Is Perjury a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Perjury is most frequently categorized as a felony at both the federal level as well as at the state level, but exceptions do exist.

For example, in the state of New York, perjury can be classified as a misdemeanor if the lie being made under oath is nonetheless judged immaterial or irrelevant to the case at hand. Otherwise, if the lie made under oath is judged material to the case at hand, you would likely face felony charges instead.

How Much Jail Time Can You Be Sentenced to if Found Guilty of Perjury?

If found guilty of perjury in federal court, the USC allows for a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.

State laws vary greatly in terms of their sentencing guidelines and requirements, but in broad terms, punishments are determined by the severity of the charges being laid, and whether or not they are categorized as misdemeanors or as felonies. In Texas, for example, simple perjury is considered a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in county jail as well as a $4,000 fine. However, aggravated perjury is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Whether or not perjury is considered aggravated is determined by whether the falsehood made under oath is material to the case — the same reasoning applies in the state of New York as well as many other jurisdictions.

Have You Been Charged With Perjury?

If you have been charged with perjury, you are facing serious charges. A skilled perjury attorney is the first person you should contact about your case.

When to Hire a Lawyer

It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.

How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation

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.

How to Find the Right Attorney

  • Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
  • Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
  • Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.

Common legal terms explained

Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.

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