If you convey a falsehood after swearing to tell the truth, you may have committed perjury. However, a criminal attorney may be able to help. By partnering with a respected Fulton County perjury lawyer, you may be able to mitigate or avoid the worst possible sentence.
The justice system relies on participants sticking to the facts and being honest. To discourage dishonesty in legal proceedings and documents, this conduct is broken into three separate crimes.
Lying during a judicial proceeding, such as a trial, court hearing, or deposition may support perjury charges. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-10-70 defines perjury as knowingly and willingly offering false testimony material to the case’s outcome while under oath during a judicial hearing. To be actionable, the statements must influence the decision rendered. If the falsity is irrelevant to the determination, a perjury charge may not hold together.
False swearing is similar to perjury. While this infraction, explained in O.C.G.A. § 16-10-71, also involves dishonesty while under oath or in situations where a person certifies to telling the truth, it does not occur during judicial proceedings. Examples of false swearing include signing pleadings (position papers submitted to the court) or affidavits knowing that they contain material inaccuracies and untruths.
It is also a crime to convince or pressure someone to lie under oath. This crime is called subornation of perjury and false swearing. An example of this transgression would be a suspect bullying a friend into providing an alibi for them in court even though the suspect and friend were not together at the time in question.
Attorneys who regularly handle Fulton County perjury cases may be able to help those accused of dishonesty under oath. Their knowledge of the law and familiarity with the local system may lead to better results when negotiating with prosecutors or presenting cases at trial.
Individuals accused of perjury can face significant consequences if convicted. All three offenses require a minimum of one year in jail upon conviction, fines up to $1000, or both.
For perjury and subornation, the maximum imprisonment is ten years. Detention for false swearing may not exceed five years. If the false statement leads to another person’s incarceration, the lying individual’s prison term may not exceed the sentence of the person convicted based on the misinformation. However, if the lie resulted in a death sentence for someone else, the offender may end up in prison for life.
Hiring a Fulton County attorney familiar with perjury charges may be a suspect’s best chance to mount a vigorous defense and mitigate the damage to their future.
Differing accounts of an event do not necessarily equate to someone being dishonest. If a person believes what they say is the truth, they fail to have the requisite intent to commit perjury or false swearing. Similarly, if a person misspeaks or makes a mistake in recounting events, they did not intend to mislead the court.
In some cases, the person may have intentionally lied, but the falsehood had no bearing on the resolution. Despite this person’s lack of candor, they may avoid punishment because the false statement was not material to the case. A skilled lawyer may help those accused explain their actions to persuade the court in their favor.
Those accused of perjury offenses should take the charges seriously given the penalties if convicted. Schedule a consultation with a Fulton County perjury lawyer today to take your first positive step in resolving this matter.