What Does It Mean to Commit Perjury?
According to Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2702, it is against the law to provide a false sworn statement or declaration while believing it to be false. Violations here are class 4 felonies where convictions can result in almost four years in prison for a first offense. However, there is also a mandatory minimum of one year in prison with mitigating circumstances.
A person commits perjury when they have the legal obligation to tell the truth. This occurs more often than many of us believe. Most directly, this occurs when we appear before a court and must swear that we will tell the truth. However, it also occurs when we pay taxes, submit a loan application, or open a bank account. A Gilbert attorney could provide more information about the state’s perjury laws and when they require an individual to tell the truth.
The Concepts of Material Fact and Intent
It is impossible for a person to tell the truth at all times. People naturally become confused, or their memories may falter. Because of these ideas, the law does not punish people who make simple mistakes. Instead, a perjury conviction can only result if a prosecutor can prove that a defendant intentionally provided a false statement while under oath. As a result, a perjury lawyer in Gilbert could help by presenting evidence that an untrue statement was the product of a simple mistake and that a defendant did not intend to cause any misdirection or fraud.
Another essential concept under the state’s perjury law is the idea of material information. While the law leaves no doubt that it is illegal to intentionally deceive a government entity, it does provide the caveat that the deception must involve a material issue.
Under AZ Rev. Stat. § 13-2701, an issue is material when it has the potential to influence the course or outcome of any transaction or proceeding. For example, intentionally overstating one’s income on a mortgage application is material to whether the lender will offer a loan. By contrast, a person who is appearing as a witness in a trial may state that they were wearing a blue shirt at the time of an incident as opposed to a red one. In most situations, the color of a witness’s shirt is not material to the reason for why they are a witness. A Gilbert perjury attorney could help to develop defenses that center around the ideas of intent and materiality.
Reach Out to a Gilbert Perjury Attorney Today
Allegations of perjury are serious matters. Convictions will label you as a felon for life and require the court to impose a prison sentence. With that in mind, proving perjury can be difficult for a prosecutor. Not only do they need to show that your statement was false, but they also need to prove that you knew that it was false and that it concerned a material topic.
A Gilbert perjury lawyer may be able to help you to mount a vigorous defense against these charges. They can work to investigate the circumstances under which the statement came forward and to understand your state of mind at the time. Call now to begin building a defense.