Prince William County Perjury Lawyer
An individual who lies under oath commits the crime of perjury. While a common example of this offense occurs when an individual appears in court, the government has the ability to enforce the requirement to tell the truth under oath in many other scenarios. A conviction for perjury can carry felony penalties and result in serious prison time.
A Prince William County perjury lawyer could help defendants who are facing perjury charges. They could investigate the incident, identify a person’s goals for the case, and fight for those goals in and out of court. If you were accused of lying under oath, contacting a skilled attorney early in your case may allow you to minimize or avoid the penalties associated with this crime.
Perjury as a Crime Against the Commonwealth
Most criminal charges involve allegations that a person has wronged another citizen or a company. Perjury is one example of an offense that a person may commit against the government. Every person has certain rights, and the ability to exercise those rights relies on that person’s ability to tell the truth. Likewise, the government relies on the ability to be able to trust a person’s statement.
According to the Code of Virginia §18.2-434, the charge of perjury involves a person willfully speaking falsely on an occasion where there is an oath. This applies to statements made in court and also prohibits false statements on:
- Marriage certificates
- Written declarations
- Verifications of identities
Va. Code Ann. §8.01-4.3 offers more clarification on the official template that officers taking sworn statement sessions must provide. This template advises people that they are under oath and that a willful misstatement is a crime.
An important aspect of all perjury prosecutions is intent. It is not enough for a prosecutor to prove that a person provided an incorrect statement while under oath. The Commonwealth must also prove that the defendant made the misstatement with the knowledge that it was false.
A perjury attorney in the area could further clarify the laws concerning lying under oath and explain what the prosecutor needs to prove to secure a conviction.
What are the Penalties for Perjury?
Perjury is a serious allegation with severe consequences. Va. Code Ann. §18.2-434 provides both criminal and administrative penalties upon conviction. The statute defines perjury as a Class 5 felony with a mandatory prison sentence of at least one year and a maximum of ten years. However, at the discretion of the court or jury, the sentencing party may reduce the penalty to a jail sentence of no more than 12 months, a fine of no more than $2,500, or both.
A conviction for perjury could permanently affect a person’s ability to hold an office of honor, profit, or trust under the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Additionally, because perjury is a felony, those convicted of perjury are barred from voting and serving on a jury in the future. As a result, a conviction for perjury can have a permanent effect on one’s life. Working with a local lawyer could help those accused of perjury avoid this outcome.
A Prince William County Perjury Attorney Could Protect Your Future
Allegations of perjury are always serious. A conviction is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. Furthermore, a conviction eliminates a person’s ability to hold any office in the Commonwealth, vote, or to serve on a jury.
The standard that a prosecutor needs to prove to secure a perjury conviction is high. Not only must a district attorney prove that a person provided a false statement while under oath, but they must also prove that the defendant did so intentionally.
A Prince William County perjury attorney could help you mount a strong defense. They could work to discover all the evidence in the case and make powerful legal arguments in court to damage the prosecutor’s case and convince a jury that any false statement was a mistake and carried no malicious intent. Call to schedule an appointment and learn more about the next steps in your case.