The U.S. criminal justice system relies on constitutional principles to ensure that every person accused of a crime receives due process before the law. As part of that process, prosecutors must provide evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which often includes sworn testimony by witnesses.

Witness testimony plays a crucial role in the criminal justice process, and the penalties for misleading or lying to the court while under oath are necessarily harsh. Nonetheless, an experienced federal criminal defense attorney could help fight federal charges of perjury. Consulting with a Charleston federal perjury lawyer may be beneficial to building a strong defense and preserving your future.

Perjury Under Federal Law

Under 18 U.S. Code § 1621, perjury occurs when individuals take an oath to testify to the truth of a matter and then intentionally testify to something that they do not believe to be true. The perjured testimony can be verbal or written.

A separate perjury statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1623, addresses situations in which individuals intentionally make false statements under oath or penalties of perjury in the context of federal court and grand jury proceedings.

Under 18 U.S. Code § 1622, it is also a crime to suborn perjury, i.e., to procure others to commit perjury. All perjury offenses carry the potential for up to five years in federal prison, along with additional fines. Therefore, it is critical for defendant’s to reach out to a federal perjury lawyer in Charleston.

Elements of Perjury Under Federal Law in Charleston

One requirement to prove perjury is that the individuals involved must know, or consciously choose not to know, that they are making false statements. In other words, to be guilty of perjury, individuals must be aware of and intend to deceive others by making false statements. Therefore, if an individual genuinely believed that their statements were accurate at the time that they made them, it may be difficult or impossible to convict.

Perjury also requires that the false statements concern something material to the proceedings. The information in the false statements must be significant enough that it affects whoever is hearing the statement, such as a judge or jury in federal court proceedings. If the false statement concerns only minor detail that would have no impact on the decision-making body, then it may not rise to the level required for perjury.

Finally, the perjury must consist of either a false statement or a false written document. Federal prosecutors must establish all three of these essential elements to prove federal perjury charges, while a defense attorney may do everything possible to disprove them.

Reach Out to a Charleston Federal Perjury Attorney

If federal authorities have accused you of committing perjury, you may be intimidated, stressed, and uncertain of how to respond. Rather than attempt to handle a difficult situation on your own, consulting a Charleston federal perjury lawyer may be helpful.

All too often, individuals inadvertently commit perjury due to traps set by federal investigators and law enforcement authorities. A single misstep or misunderstanding can lead to a threat of perjury charges. Providing evidence and clearing your name may be crucial to protecting your future. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney.