Lying under oath can have serious consequences. If you have been charged with perjury in Los Angeles it is important to act quickly. The prosecution will not waste any time in building a case against you. The sooner you contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, the sooner we can begin to devise a solid defense.
Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is a former prosecutor with nearly two decades of legal experience. His work as a prosecutor gives him an advantage when he defends individuals against serious criminal charges like perjury. He understands how the prosecution will approach the case and knows how to leverage the weak parts of their case in his client’s favor. Contact his Los Angeles office today to schedule a free consultation. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to explain your case and learn about how Mr. Rodriguez can help you.
What is Perjury?
It is a common misconception that you can only commit perjury if you are testifying in court. The truth is that you commit perjury if you lie at any time while you have been sworn to tell the truth in a legal proceeding. You can be charged with the crime of perjury under California Penal Code Section 118 if you have “taken an oath…[to] testify/declare/depose/certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer or person…willfully and contrary to the oath, state as true any material matter which [you] know to be false.”
In simpler terms, it is a crime to intentionally and knowingly lie while you are under oath. This includes when you are a witness in a courtroom, testifying in a deposition, making a statement in an affidavit, and even submitting information for your driver’s license.
A prosecutor handling your case will have to prove that you are guilty of each element of the crime of perjury in order to convict you. In California, there are five essential elements that must be proven. You can be convicted of perjury if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Testified, declared, deposed, or certified under penalty of perjury;
- Willfully stated that information was true even though you knew it was false;
- The information was material to the issue;
- Knew you were making the statement under oath/penalty of perjury; and
- Intended to testify, declare, depose, or certify falsely.
Information is considered to be material if “it is probable that the information would inﬂuence the outcome of the proceedings.” However, the information does not necessarily have to influence the proceedings. It must only be probable that the information could influence the outcome. The prosecutor does not have to prove that you knew whether or not the information was material.
Examples of Perjury
An oath is defined as “an affirmation or any other method authorized by law to affirm the truth of a statement.” An oath can be administered in many different situations. Here are a few examples of situations that involve perjury.
- Making a statement you know to be false when you are on the witness stand.
- Providing false information when you sign your California driver’s license application.
- Fudging the truth about how much money you make when you are completing financial declarations during your divorce.
- Lying about the injuries you suffered in an accident during a deposition.
What Are the Consequences of Perjury in Los Angeles?
Perjury is a felony offense in California. If you are convicted of perjury you can face serious criminal consequences. The severity of your criminal sentence will generally depend on your prior criminal record, the seriousness of your crime, and if anyone was harmed because of your lie. A judge has the discretion to impose any combination of the following penalties:
- Up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail;
- Two, three, or four years in a California state prison;
- Felony probation; and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
If your lie caused another person to be sentenced to death and wrongfully executed, you can be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Defending Against Perjury Charges
Just because you have been accused of or charged with the crime of perjury does not mean that you will be convicted. You can increase your chances of getting the best possible resolution to your case by hiring an experienced Los Angeles perjury attorney will increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome. Your attorney will argue any defense that may be appropriate for your case. Defenses to charges of perjury in Los Angeles include:
- You did not understand the question you were asked;
- You were not under oath at the time you made the false statement;
- The false statement was not related to a material issue; and
- You honestly believed that the statement you gave was true, even though it was false.
Crimes Related to Perjury
There are crimes in California that are very similar and/or related to perjury. These are distinct offenses that also have serious criminal consequences.
- Subornation of Perjury: Convincing, persuading, or forcing someone else to commit perjury.
- Filing False Documents: Submitting a document that you know to be false or a forgery to a public office.
- Falsely Reporting a Crime: Reporting a crime that did not occur to a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, or 911 dispatcher.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Perjury Defense Attorney
Have you been accused of committing perjury in Los Angeles? If so, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. A criminal conviction for perjury can have serious and life-long consequences. In addition to facing possible time in prison, you will have to live with the burden of a felony criminal conviction for the rest of your life. A criminal record can make it very difficult to live a normal life. Employers will be hesitant to hire you if they do not think that you are reliable and landlords may not want to rent you an apartment if they think that you are trouble. Even if your perjury offense was minor, the fact that you have a criminal record will be a liability later in life. You can reduce the negative consequences of your alleged crime by hiring an experienced Los Angeles perjury lawyer to defend you.
Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, determine the best defenses for your specific situation, and answer the questions you have. The choices and decisions you make today will affect the rest of your life. Do not hesitate to call us for help.