When you are placed under oath or sign any document that is considered legal and binding, you are expected to be truthful. When you fail to tell the truth in anything legal, you could face a perjury charge. This is a serious matter that must be addressed accordingly.
There are many reasons why you are expected to tell the truth on legal documents. One of the primary ones is that your statement might be used to help a judge or jury make a decision about a case. Whether the case is a criminal case or a civil matter, your sworn statement might be one that sways the outcome. In other cases, certain financial obligations, such as child support or alimony, are based on your sworn testimony.
Perjury charges often come due to hard evidence that directly discounts a sworn testimony. This could be something like payroll records showing that an income statement wasn’t correct. It could also be that financial records or video surveillance directly contradicts an alibi.
People who are charged with perjury are facing the possibility of prison terms. On a federal level, the penalty for perjury is up to five years in prison. State law notes that perjury is a third-degree felony that can land you in prison for seven years if you are convicted.
As you can see, it is imperative that you only make truthful statements when you are doing anything that has a legal basis. There are some defense options that can work with a perjury charge, so you should evaluate these carefully if you find out that you are facing this very serious charge.
Source: FindLaw, “Perjury,” accessed Dec. 08, 2017