Every time you testify at a trial or other type of court proceeding, you must take an oath to be truthful. You could face serious legal consequences if you do not provide truthful answers, including a perjury charge. Perjury is a serious crime that has far-reaching consequences for the performance and trustworthiness of the American justice system and private citizens who adhere to it.
Perjury is punished harshly, and a conviction can have severe ramifications for the convicted party. If you face accusations like this, you have the legal right to defend yourself. Given the severe consequences of this type of offense, it is highly advised to seek the advice of a Newnan perjury lawyer. A criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and your best interests are upheld throughout the legal process.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-10-70 outlines the crime of perjury as knowingly and willfully making a false statement material to the issue or point in question after having been administered an oath or affirmation in any judicial proceeding. The following are the essential elements of perjury:
All three of the above-stated elements must be present for a false statement to be considered perjury.
Because of this, the prosecution is required to show that the accused party swore an oath or made an affirmation to tell the truth. Determining whether a false statement is material can also be challenging. However, if the alleged statement has the potential to influence the fact finder’s decision in the case, the court is likely to consider it material.
Due to the technical nature of these crimes, obtaining a skillful attorney who handles cases about breaking an oath in Newnan can be a deciding factor in the outcome of your case.
A Newnan defense attorney will first seek to show that the false statement was not under oath, material, or knowingly willfully made. A perjury charge may not be warranted if the false statement is based on minor details unrelated to the case. This being so, the judge or the jury must be convinced that the statement does not have the potential to sway the case’s outcome or that the statement is not material to the issue or point in question.
Lastly, a defense lawyer will seek to show that the accused person was unaware that their statement was not truthful. Whether or not the testimony is actually false, if the accused party believed that it was truthful, then that belief constitutes an absolute defense to the charge of perjury.
A skillful defense attorney in Newnan is often necessary because a perjury conviction can have a wide range of consequences depending on several factors. A typical conviction carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a prison sentence of one to ten years. However, perjury carries a very unique sentence structure when it comes to criminal cases.
If a person is convicted of perjury that caused another person to be imprisoned, they can be sentenced to a term that is no greater than the other person’s sentence. Lastly, if a person convicted of perjury in a case where a defendant received the death penalty the perjurer will be sentenced to life in prison. In this last case there is no discretion for the court when sentencing, the legislature says the defendant in those situations shall receive a life sentence.
If facing charges, it is vital to retain a Newnan perjury lawyer as soon as possible. Perjury is a unique charge that can be difficult for the prosecution to prove, and knowledge of the law and available defenses are necessary.
Contact our office and speak with our defense team ready to fight on your behalf. Schedule a consultation today.
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC
J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC