Federal Defense Lawyers Explain the Crime of Perjury

The criminal justice system in the United States aims to ensure that defendants accused of wrongdoing benefit from due process before conviction. Often, this means an investigation and a trial where witnesses are questioned under oath and swear to tell the truth.

Unfortunately, not everyone who takes an oath to tell the whole truth is actually honest and forthcoming. As a result, there are federal laws in place that make lying under oath a crime.

Defendants can be charged with perjury and prosecuted by federal authorities for false or misleading statements and penalties under perjury laws can be very harsh.

Many defendants end up caught in perjury traps where investigators specifically ask questions designed to cause those who are being questioned to deliver incomplete answers. That’s why it is so important to always have a lawyer with you before you ask any questions if you are under investigation, or even if you are a witness being questioned by the FBI or other federal investigators.

LV Criminal Defense can help. Our federal criminal defense lawyers have represented many individuals being questioned by federal authorities and our goal is to help you avoid saying anything incriminating that could increase the likelihood you will be charged or convicted of an offense.

We also provide representation to clients in Arizona, California, Utah, Oregon, and Nevada who have been accused of perjury. We can help you to defend against federal charges and reduce the likelihood of conviction, so give us a call today to find out how our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can help you.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Federal Laws On Perjury

The federal criminal code addresses perjury within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 79, where there are just three statutes that define different types of perjury that can result in a defendant facing federal prosecution. The three statutes that define federal perjury offenses in Chapter 79 include:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 1621: Perjury generally: This statute defines perjury to include any situation where a defendant has taken an oath before a tribunal, officer, person, or in other situations where an oath is authorized by the U.S. and the defendant then fails to live up to the oath requiring that he tell the truth. To secure conviction, a prosecutor would need to prove that the defendant willfully testified contrary to the oath by stating or subscribing any material that he does not believe to be true. Perjury also includes situations where a defendant makes a statement or declaration under penalty of perjury and willfully supplies information or material matter he does not believe to be true. The penalty for a defendant who is convicted of perjury under 18 U.S. Code section 1621 includes up to five years of imprisonment, except in situations where another penalty is prescribed by law.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1622: Subornation of perjury: This statute address situations where others facilitate or encourage perjury. A defendant can be convicted of a criminal offense under 18 U.S. Code section 1622 for procuring another to commit perjury. This crime is called subornation of perjury and a defendant who is convicted of it can be fined and can be imprisoned for a maximum period of five years incarceration.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1623: False declarations before grand jury or court: This statute makes it a criminal act to knowingly make a false material declaration or to use any book, paper, document, records or other materials with knowledge that those materials contain false information when under oath or under penalty of perjury in a proceeding before a grand jury or in any proceeding ancillary to a court or grand jury This statute applies regardless of whether the conduct occurred inside or outside of the United States. The penalty if convicted includes up to five years of imprisonment as well as a fine.

In some cases, these statutes also provide additional clarity on what a prosecutor must prove. For example, 18 U.S. Code section 1623 explains that an indictment for violating this statute that alleges a defendant knowingly made two or more declarations under oath that are so contradictory it is clear one of them must not be true does not need to specify which of the two declarations is false provided that each of the inconsistent declarations was material to the point in question and was made within the period when the crime could be prosecuted and wasn’t outside of the statute of limitations.

In these circumstances, the fact that contradictory statements were made while under oath can be considered proof that the defendant made false declarations to a grand jury. However, a defendant can defend himself by arguing that at the time when he made the first statement, he believed that it was true.

LV Criminal Defense can provide help to defendants who have been accused of making false statements under oath. You should reach out to an attorney at our firm to find out the specifics of what a prosecutor must prove under each of these different statutes so you can understand the details of the charges you are facing.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Attorney

If you’ve been accused of perjury, you should work with experienced federal criminal defense lawyers to try to develop an appropriate response to charges aimed at reducing or avoiding conviction. LV Criminal Defense can provide the help and support you need to develop the right strategic response to charges. This could include fighting against conviction in court, negotiating a plea agreement, or trying to get charges dropped.

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Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362

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When your future is at stake, you need an attorney with the experience and skill to represent you in court and out, and to help you choose the best approach to reduce or avoid penalties. If you live in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas, LV Criminal Defense can provide the advocacy you need. To learn more, give us a call today.