Charles City Perjury Lawyer

Perjury involves more than just what happens in a courtroom. You may be convicted of perjury for statements written on legal documents or made in other situations. If you have been accused of perjury, it wise to proceed with caution because the offense is considered a felony with severe ramifications.

A Charles City perjury lawyer could help if you are concerned about perjury charges. Advice from an attorney could help you avoid the potential for perjury. If you have been accused, a trusted defense attorney could build the best available defense to help you fight the charges and work toward a positive outcome.

Potential Penalties for Perjury

Under Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-434, perjury is categorized as a Class 5 felony. In addition to the standard criminal penalties, those convicted of perjury are forbidden to hold “any office of honor, profit or trust under the Constitution of Virginia.” Moreover, those found guilty are also held incapable of serving on a jury.

The penalties for a Class 5 felony in Charles City include up to ten years in prison. However, a Charles City perjury lawyer could work to persuade the judge or jury to exercise their discretion to limit a sentence to no more than 12 months or impose a fine of no more than $2,500.

Actions Constituting Perjury in Charles

Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-434 describes three types of circumstances that constitute perjury. The first occurs when someone who has taken an oath on any occasion “swears falsely” regarding “any material matter.” A Charles City perjury lawyer may be able to show that an issue is either not material or that the person accused did not swear falsely. It may also be possible to argue that the person did not understand the nature of the oath taken.

The second situation described in the statute is a false declaration of age to obtain a marriage license for another. The third situation that constitutes perjury arises when a person makes a written declaration “under penalty of perjury” and willfully states that something is true when in fact the person does not believe it to be true. The statement must be material for a false statement to be treated as perjury.

When is a Fact Considered Material?

A crucial element in a perjury case involves a determination as to whether a false fact is material to the incident. Merely being false is not enough.

If a perjury lawyer in Charles City can convince the court an issue is not materially relevant to the case, then there can be no finding of perjury. In most cases, this amounts to proving that the false statement had nothing to do with the subject of the case.

Perjury Through Conflicting Testimony

Under Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-435, an individual may be convicted of perjury for giving inconsistent testimony regarding an issue on separate occasions. However, the offense requires that during at least one of the periods of testimony, the individual must have intentionally made false statements with the intent to deceive.

Therefore, inconsistent testimony made by mistake will not subject someone to perjury charges. Moreover, the issue must also be materially relevant, so a Charles City perjury lawyer could argue that conflicting testimony about a subject is not directly relevant and therefore should not be penalized as perjury.

Contact a Charles City Perjury Attorney for Help

Many people do not realize when they sign documents that a mistake could subject them to felony perjury charges. Even if a matter seems minor and you are certain it is not relevant to the issue involved, it is wise to take steps to protect yourself.

In a consultation, a Charles City perjury lawyer could review your case and explain your potential liability. If you have been charged with perjury, an attorney could use every available option to defend you and minimize the adverse consequences. To learn more about the advantages an experienced perjury lawyer could bring to your situation, call now.