It can be unnerving to speak to the police or testify in court. If an individual is afraid of saying something that could hurt them or a loved one, they might say something that stretches the truth a bit or omits important details. Unfortunately, this can get individuals into trouble with the law.
Lying under oath could result in a criminal conviction that could have harmful effects on your future. Fortunately, a skilled defense attorney may be able to help. A Plano perjury lawyer at Barbieri Law, P.C., could defend and advocate for you while protecting your rights along the way.
What Constitutes Perjury Under Texas Law
According to Texas Penal Code Chapter 37.02, an individual commits perjury when they intentionally make a false statement under oath.
The Statement Must Be Made Under Oath
Notably, not every statement made to a police officer or under informal interrogation is made under oath. To win their case, prosecutors would have to show that the defendant was aware of their rights, knew they were under oath, and chose to lie anyway.
The Statement Must be Untrue
State law requires the prosecution to prove that the statement made by the alleged perjurer was untrue. The prosecution also must provide evidence of the lie. For instance, one way of proving that a person told a lie under oath is by showing that the alleged perjurer made two inconsistent statements that conflict with each other.
In this situation, the prosecution would not need to prove which statement was a lie. They would only need to show that both of the statements made by the alleged perjurer could not possibly be true at the same time.
The Person Must Have Intentionally Told a False or Misleading Statement
To commit perjury, the accused must have been aware that their statement was untrue. A dedicated attorney could help a Plano defendant prove that they merely misremembered a detail and did not commit perjury.
Importantly, there is no requirement under state law that the lie led to harm. However, most perjury cases involve claims where the lie did cause serious harm to another person.
Possible Penalties for Lying Under Oath
Depending on the nature of the false statement, courts can treat perjury as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, a defendant could face up to a $4,000 fine, as well as a jail term of up to one year.
If the individual’s lie led to the case’s final outcome, they could face elevated charges of aggravated perjury, which is a third-degree felony. Aggravated perjury can result in two to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
In addition, in Texas, perjury is a crime of moral turpitude, meaning that it is immoral and contrary to honesty and justice. Consequently, convicted individuals might find it challenging to find a new job or obtain a housing loan once finished with their sentence. To avoid the harshest of penalties for perjury, it is essential to have a lawyer familiar with the laws in Plano to build a strong defense strategy.
Contact the Office to Speak with a Plano Perjury Attorney
If you are facing perjury charges, it is critical that you understand what you are up against. You may be facing steep fines, jail time, and marks on your permanent record.
Luckily, a well-versed Plano perjury lawyer is available to help. Our client-centered team could explain the charges against you and help you determine the best approach going forward. Call us today to set up a consultation.