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Common Defenses A Criminal Attorney May Raise To Help Fight Perjury Charges

by Theresa Hoffman

If you have been charged with perjury, you may be thinking about hiring a criminal attorney to help defend you against the charges you are facing. One of the things that you may be curious to know before you hire an attorney is how they can help you to fight the charges you are facing. Most criminal attorneys use defenses to help get the prosecuting office to reduce or dismiss the charges, or to convince a judge or jury that you are not guilty. Here are some of the common defenses that may be raised against perjury charges.

You Were Not Under Oath

One of the common defenses to a perjury charge is not being under oath. If you were not under oath when you made a statement, or a legal paper does not say that you are signing it under oath, you cannot be charged with perjury. Only statements that were made while you were under oath are eligible for perjury charges. 

You Did Not Intentionally Give a False Statement

Another common defense to a perjury charge that a criminal attorney may use is that you did not intentionally give a false statement. There are many reasons why you may give a false statement that are not intentional, such as not understanding the question or remembering things differently as time passes. A prosecutor must convince a jury you willingly and knowingly gave a false statement to be convicted of perjury, which can be challenging to do.

The False Statement Was Not Material or Relevant

One of the more unique elements of a perjury charge is that the false statement has to be material to a case or relevant to a specific document. If you are on the stand and say the sky is purple, it is obviously a lie and a false statement. However, you cannot be charged with perjury as the false statement isn't relevant or material to anything. It doesn't affect the outcome of a trial. A criminal attorney may use this as a defense to a potential perjury charge. 

If you are facing perjury charges, a criminal defense attorney may use defenses to help get the charges against you reduced or dismissed, or to show a judge or jury why you are not guilty. If you have been charged with perjury, reach out to a criminal attorney—found at law firms like Hart Law Offices, PC—as quickly as possible so they have time to help build the best possible defense for the specifics of your case.