Perjury and Making False Statements
Perjury and false statements are a part of many legal cases in New York. Whether you have ever signed a “Penalty of Perjury” document, or you just watch Primetime TV, you probably have a good understanding of what perjury and false statements are. In New York, there are three ways to be charged with this crime and many elements of the law that must be considered.
Degrees of Perjury
A person can be charged with perjury in the third degree if they falsely attest to information. Third-degree perjury is a class A misdemeanor and comes with up to 1 year in jail.
Second-degree perjury is quite complicated. It also involves swearing falsely but when charged with second-degree, the false statement must have been made under oath with the intent to mislead a public servant and is material to the action or matter involved. Second-degree perjury is a class E felony and can result in up to 4 years in prison in NY.
First-degree perjury is the most serious type of this charge; it requires a person to make a false statement in testimony. If found guilty of first-degree perjury, a person could be sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Although you may have a basic understanding of perjury, it is important to understand statutory defenses set forth by New York law. Partnering with a New York criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges and help you create an argument that can be used in a court of law.
Perjury Penalties in New York
In general, these cases are hard for prosecutors to prove. To be found guilty, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant intended to deceive by offering false statements regarding a matter or action. In layman’s terms, a prosecutor must prove a person lied on purpose. Additionally, a prosecutor must prove that the false statement was material to the case. If the perjured information or false statement didn’t affect the case outcome, the fact that a person intentionally lied may not be enough to warrant perjury charges.
Also, keep in mind that remembering facts wrong or making a mistake when retelling a series of events is not an intentional misstatement, so it may not be found to be perjury according to the elements of the law. As with all criminal cases, a prosecutor must prove a person intentionally lied to authorities or lied under oath beyond a reasonable doubt, which can be hard to prove criminally.
If you have been accused or charged with perjury, it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. If found guilty of perjury charges, you may be looking at substantial time in jail. Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. has appeared in court trials for over 30 years and has worked over 1200 trials. Contact The Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. today to see what he can do for you.