Most people understand that if they tell a lie while under oath in court, they are committing perjury. However, many people do not realize that perjury can be committed in other situations; involving not only speech but also written documents.
Acts that constitute perjury are defined somewhat differently in federal law and state laws, including those of South Carolina. While in some situations South Carolina treats perjury as a misdemeanor, while under most applications of federal law, perjury is considered a serious felony offense. For that reason, you should reach out to a dedicated attorney. Anyone facing federal perjury charges is advised to consult a South Carolina federal perjury lawyer who can explain the ramifications and options for defending against the charges.
Federal perjury statutes specify that those found guilty of perjury are subject to a fine or a sentence of up to five years of imprisonment or both. Although the amount of the fine is not specified in the statute, the general provision in the U.S. criminal code establishing guidelines for fines states that in cases where the fine is not included in the statute, the ceiling for fines for an individual convicted of a felony offense is $250,000.
The U.S. Code includes three basic perjury prohibitions. The general provision of Section 1621 of Title 18 essentially states that someone commits perjury when testifying under oath (or under penalty of perjury) that a statement is true when that person does not believe it is true.
To be convicted of perjury, it must be proven that the individual made the statement willfully, that the subject of the statement was of material importance, and that the individual realized that the statement was false. A statement may be considered perjury whether it is written or verbal, and whether taken under official oath or unsworn but accompanied by an acknowledgment that the person making the statement understands that they may be charged with perjury if they knowingly provide false information.
For instance, an individual might sign and date a form with the language, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. In addition to official proceedings such as Congressional hearings, perjury may be committed by knowingly making false statements in situations such as in depositions, applications to federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or in financial affidavits such as loan applications. For more information, get in contact with a South Carolina federal perjury lawyer today.
The federal perjury statutes not only prohibit people from making false statements, but also from encouraging others to do so. Section 1622 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code states that anyone who procures someone to commit any type of perjury will be considered guilty of subornation of perjury. This carries the same federal penalty as the crime of perjury.
The third basic perjury provision deals with false statements made in court proceedings or before a grand jury. This statute, codified in Section 1623 of title 18, was designed to make it easier to prove perjury, but it is limited to federal court proceedings. Among other things, this statute specifies that the falsity of a statement can be proven by the showing that an individual made contradictory statements that were material to the point in question. By working with a South Carolina federal perjury lawyer, you may be able to avoid actions which involve perjury.
When dealing with a serious federal crime such as perjury, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience handling federal offenses because they understand how these cases are prosecuted and how to devise the most successful defense strategies. A knowledgeable South Carolina federal perjury lawyer can help you work toward the optimum outcome in your case. Call now to learn how we can put our experience to work for you.