Did you know that if you give false information while filling out an application for a business license or when applying for a California driver's license that you could be charged with perjury? Generally, when you sign these types of applications, you are signing them under the penalty of perjury. Failing to disclose a previous arrest, lying about your income to obtain welfare benefits, or falsely identifying yourself under oath are all considered forms of perjury and are punishable by law.
When facing charges of perjury in San Mateo County, it is in your best interests to seek advice from a passionate and knowledgeable criminal defense law firm. Contact our lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram online or call us at 866-477-0965 to discover more about your rights today.
California's Perjury Laws
Perjury is addressed in California's Penal Code 118 PC and is defined as deliberately giving false information under oath. This includes any information you give at depositions, in court, while signing an affidavit, in a signed certificate, or at the DMV. In California, lying under oath is a felony criminal offense and prosecuted harshly.
In order to convict someone of perjury, however, the prosecution must have positive testimony that the defendant willingly lied while under oath. Circumstantial evidence is not enough to convict someone of perjury. In fact, except for the crime of treason, perjury requires the highest measure of proof in the law. In order to obtain a conviction of perjury, the prosecution must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the person was under oath at the time of the testimony
- That the defendant knew that he or she was under oath at the time of the testimony
- That the defendant provided false information
- That the person knew he or she was providing false information and did so willingly
Penalties for Perjury in California
The penalties and consequences for perjury are harsh because perjury is classified as a felony offense. If you are convicted of perjury in the State of California, you face the following penalties and consequences:
- Up to one year in county jail
- Two, three or four years in California state prison
If your perjury caused another individual to be convicted and executed, then you could be found guilty of aggravated perjury and punished by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.
It Can Be Up to the Judge
It is up to the discretion of the judge as to how severe your punishment is for perjury. A judge will take into consideration your prior criminal record, whether your perjury actually harmed another person, and how severe he or she believes your perjury crime to be.
The judge will then determine if you spend no time in jail (probation) or up to four years in a state prison. As such, it is important to have an experienced San Mateo County criminal defense lawyer on your side from the moment you are arrested and charged with perjury. Our attorneys will present a solid case to the judge to protect your interests.
There are several defenses your attorney can employ to have your perjury charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. If you made an innocent mistake when filling out an affidavit or you believed the information you were providing was true, then your lawyer may be able to have the charges against you dropped.
Perhaps you did not understand a direction or a question, or perhaps there was a language barrier that caused you to give false information. The prosecution may also have insufficient evidence to prove that the information you have given was false and that you knowingly gave that information. Due to the complexities surrounding perjury cases, it is important to have an experienced defense lawyer investigate all angles of your case as soon as you are charged with perjury.
Consult With Our Redwood City Perjury Defense Lawyers
At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, our Redwood City criminal defense lawyers have successfully defended clients in the state of California who have been charged with perjury. We understand how difficult it is for the prosecution to prove perjury, and as such, we aggressively attack the prosecution's case from every angle. Call our law firm at 866-477-0965 to schedule a consultation regarding your perjury defense.