San Diego Perjury Lawyer
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Not all immoral behavior is considered a crime, but when perpetrated in certain prescribed circumstances, you could be facing criminal penalties. One such act is making or giving false information – loosely referred to as telling a lie. The law considers making a false statement while under oath to be a crime, and under Penal Code 118 PC, this is known as perjury.
Perjury is a very serious crime under California law and should not be taken lightly. The offense attracts penalties that can put you behind bars. If you are charged with perjury, you will need the services of a San Diego crimes against the government and police attorney to discuss your case, who will be able to advise you on how to proceed with your defense.
What Does the Law Say?
Perjury is committed when you make a false statement under oath. The act must be willful and will include a false statement given in the following situations:
- Giving testimony in court;
- Giving evidence in a deposition;
- Giving information in a signed affidavit;
There are a number of other occasions involving the taking of, or the signing of an oath, and any false statements that were given under those circumstances will be considered perjury.
What is the Penalty for Perjury?
Making a false statement under oath is no slap on the wrist. Perjury is classified as a felony under California law and carries a maximum prison term of four years. Penalties also include a fine of $10,000 and a judge can exercise his or her discretion to impose probation in lieu of time behind bars.
There are certain factors a judge can take into consideration when imposing a sentence after a guilty verdict in a perjury case. Of paramount importance are the particulars of the case and the criminal history of the person being sentenced. If you were found guilty of perjury or pleaded guilty to the crime, it will be vital to have a San Diego perjury lawyer to present arguments on your behalf to mitigate your sentence.
How Can I Defend Myself?
Despite the seriousness of the offense, you are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution is legally responsible for proving that you are guilty of willfully giving a false statement. There must be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict and even before a perjury trial, there must be sufficient evidence to proceed with the case.
Having a San Diego perjury lawyer will make all the difference. Your attorney may be in a position to get your charges reduced, or where there is obviously no evidence for the prosecution to proceed, your lawyer can make the appropriate pre-trial motion to have your charges dismissed.
In addition to potentially having your charges dismissed or reduced, your attorney will be instrumental in preparing a sound defense. To prove your innocence, the law will allow you to rely on any of the following legal defenses to perjury:
- The false statement was a mistake of fact;
- You did not understand the question to which you gave the statement; or
- You were not under oath at the time of the statement.
The defense strategy will vary in each case, but it is imperative that you speak with your San Diego perjury lawyer regarding your best options.
Contact a Qualified San Diego Perjury Lawyer
At McElfresh Law, we are focused on providing high-quality legal representation to individuals facing criminal charges. Our lawyers are equipped with in-depth knowledge of criminal law and the court system. We possess years of experience that you can trust.
Don’t face perjury charges by yourself. Call the offices of McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 and let us be by your side.