Perjury Federal Defense Lawyers In Maryland
Innocent mistakes or slips of the tongue can result in serious federal penalties if prosecutors press perjury charges.
Retain JC Law, where we help our clients fight back against perjury charges and help the court believe their side of the story.
What Is Perjury, According To Federal Law? Is Perjury The Same As A False Statement Charge?
Per federal law, perjury is intentionally telling untrue information to federal courts, the government, or other federal agencies. False statement charges are a form of perjury.
States – including Maryland – have similar statutes specifically for their government and agencies.
Since so many legal cases rely on statements from involved parties, law enforcement, and experts, the government has made it illegal to purposefully lie to agencies or courts.
Lying to the government can result in one of several charges:
- False statements – Covers purposeful false statements (lies), concealment, or false documentation within any of the three federal government branches: The courts, the executive branch (including the President, their administration, and relevant agencies), and both houses of Congress. For example, former security advisor to the president Michael Flynn was charged with false statements to the FBI.
- Perjury in judicial proceedings – This charge is the traditional “lying under oath” sort of charge. When a witness in a trial or court proceeding is sworn in, they promise that they will tell nothing but the truth to the court. If they break that oath, they have committed perjury.
- Subordination of perjury – Prosecutors file this charge if they believe the defendant has purposefully convinced another individual to commit perjury. In this case, the defendant may not have lied themselves, but they forced someone else to do so instead.
What Are Penalties For Perjury?
If convicted of either false statements or perjury in federal court, defendants will be sentenced to pay substantial fines and up to five years in federal prison.
How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Defend Federal Perjury Charges?
The exact text of the law requires that the defendant “knowingly and willfully” committed perjury. The prosecution must prove that the defendant either actively lied – knowing that what they said was untrue – or otherwise purposefully omitted important information or details.
As with many other defense cases, the key is proving intent. An excellent criminal defense lawyer with experience in perjury cases knows that it’s all too easy for law enforcement to mistake malice for an accident or faulty memory.
There’s also a “two witness rule” that applies to perjury cases. Federal law requires that two credible witnesses must state that perjury occurred – or one excellent witness and supporting evidence.
Proving witnesses are credible is a potential weakness in the prosecution’s case that a criminal defense lawyer can use to their client’s advantage.
Finally, there’s the possibility of avoiding prosecution altogether. In certain situations, federal law prohibits the prosecution of perjury if the would-be defendant makes a public, and thorough, declaration correcting the misinformation. That misinformation must also not have impacted the trial or investigation in question.
Correcting a mistake in such a public manner should be only done with the advice and guidance of excellent legal counsel, however. Otherwise, you’re just handing ammunition to federal prosecutors to put you behind bars.
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