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What to Expect from a Washington DC Perjury Case

No two federal perjury cases are exactly alike, in part because they can arise from so many different situations. For instance, making false statements on your federal income tax return and lying under oath before a federal grand jury both can result in federal perjury charges.

If you are in this situation, you may be wondering what you should expect from a Washington D.C. perjury case. The fact is that there are some elements that are common to most perjury cases, which can give you a better sense of what to expect in your particular situation. For more information, speak with a knowledgeable attorney today.

Comprehending Perjury Under Federal Law

Federal criminal offenses involving perjury and making false statements are provided for in three general federal statutes. When taken together, these statutes cover most situations in which federal penalty charges may arise, including federal courtrooms, federal agency administrative proceedings, and investigations by federal officials.

First, 18 U.S. Code §1001 prohibits willfully falsifying or hiding matters that are material in nature, making false statements, and creating or using materially false documents with the intent to deceive others. Any of these actions that occur within the jurisdiction of a federal government proceeding are illegal under this federal law.

Next, 18 U.S.C. §1621 provides for general federal perjury charges when individuals willfully testify under oath sanctioned by federal law, in front of a federal court, administrative body, officer, or other person, about a material matter that they do not believe to be true. This is the case regardless of whether individuals testify under oath in person or swear under oath that something they wrote is true and accurate.

This same statute also covers situations in which federal law does not require that individuals swear an oath before testifying or writing a statement as a material matter. So long as the individuals are testifying under the penalties of perjury, they may violate this section if they testify untruthfully with the intent to deceive others.

Finally, individuals may face federal perjury charges under 18 U.S.C. §1623. This statute comes into play when individuals testify untruthfully in federal court or grand jury proceedings. There is a lesser standard of proof needed to prove perjury under this statute than under 18 U.S.C. §1621.

Federal Perjury Proceedings in Washington DC

Knowing what to expect from federal perjury proceedings in Washington DC can be difficult, since circumstances can vary widely from case to case. Some federal perjury statutes allow individuals to recant their false statements and avoid prosecution, while others permit recantation only to the extent that it might result in a more lenient sentence.

There are other defenses potentially available in federal perjury cases, however, that may be applicable in certain cases, such as:

  • Lack of materiality in the false statements
  • A genuine belief in the truth of the false statements
  • Genuine confusion of individuals when being questioned under oath
  • Corrected or rehabilitated statements

Standing Up Against Perjury Charges Under Federal Law

If you are accused of making false statements or committing perjury under federal law, determining what you should expect from a Washington D.C. perjury case may be critical to pursuing a positive outcome in yours. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to answer your questions and help you develop any defenses that you may have to the charges against you. Call today to learn more.

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