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Perjury Laws

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What Is Perjury?

Perjury, or lying under oath, is the crime of lying after giving an oath or affirmation promising to tell the truth to a notary public, court clerk, or other official. The act of perjury usually has to be intentional, and some states require the perjury to be "material" to the case at hand.

Perjury may be in the form of:

  • Oral Testimony (as part of any court proceeding)
  • Something you have written
  • Signing or acknowledging a legal document, such as an affidavit, that is known to contain false information

Subornation of perjury is the act of encouraging or assisting perjury, and is also considered a crime.

What Are the Consequences of Perjury?

If you are found guilty of perjury, a court may impose any or all of the following sentences:

  • Imprisonment
  • Fines
  • Death, if Perjury lead to the Execution of an Innocent Person (only in some states)

Seeking Legal Help

If you are accused of perjury you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the complicated legal system.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-05-2014 12:41 PM PDT

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