Fort Worth Perjury Lawyer
Lying or making misleading statements while under oath is a crime. However, not all inaccurate statements amount to perjury. Mistaken testimony is not illegal. Nevertheless, prosecutors pursue perjury charges aggressively.
Hiring a Fort Worth perjury lawyer can make a big difference, especially if you obtain legal representation before testifying or going under oath to ensure you do not slip up or are caught off guard during the interview. Call today for a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
What is Perjury?
Perjury is defined as making a false statement while under oath, or swearing to the truth of an earlier false statement, if it is done with both an intent to deceive and with knowledge of the falsity of the statement. Perjury is prohibited by Texas Penal Code § 37.02.
Perjury is a Class A misdemeanor in Fort Worth. Therefore, the penalties are up to a year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $4,000. Aggravated perjury is considered as a third-degree felony. The penalty for aggravated perjury is between two- and ten-year sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending Against Allegations in Fort Worth
Since there are numerous elements required to prove a perjury case, there are several ways a Fort Worth perjury lawyer can defend a charge. The specific defense that will be most effective will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.
Statements Were Not False
One way to defend against a charge of perjury is defending that the statements alleged to be false are actually not false. Unfortunately, this is a relatively rare defense, as perjury charges typically stem from two contradictory statements made while under oath.
Lack of Knowledge
False statements only amount to perjury if the individual knows the statements are actually false. Many perjury charges come from a statement made while under oath that contradicts what prosecutors already know. If the person making the statement is unaware that what they are saying is false, though, it is not perjury.
No Intent to Deceive
Perjury can only occur if the person making the false statements intends to deceive law enforcement or someone else. Again, mere mistakes and misunderstandings do not amount to perjury in Fort Worth.
A less common defense to a perjury charge is that the speaker was being held under duress when they made the allegedly false statement. Coercion to give false testimony, or statements made while facing a threat can prevent a prosecutor from proving the intent necessary to hold a perjury conviction.
Speak with a Fort Worth Perjury Attorney Today
Many cases of perjury stem from a lack of preparation for an upcoming deposition or other interview with law enforcement. Consulting a Fort Worth perjury lawyer before going under oath can be the best way for you to prepare.
Even if you have already given testimony under oath and are now facing perjury charges, it is not too late to consult an attorney. Proving that the statements were not false, did not amount to perjury, or simply identifying mistakes can help. Even in the worst cases, a lawyer can mitigate the damages and protect your interests. Consult an attorney today.