Perjury is the act of intentionally providing false testimony in court proceedings or on a legal document. Because accurate, truthful witness testimony is essential to a functioning judicial process, bearing false witness is punished harshly.
It is possible to be charged with perjury even when you were not the individual who provided false testimony. Intentionally persuading another person to give false testimony or information in a civil action or proceeding also constitutes perjury. A Charleston perjury lawyer could help you false witness charges whether you are accused of committing perjury or persuading someone else to do so. Contact a criminal defense attorney today to learn about your legal options.
Types of Perjury Offenses in Charleston
Three main types of perjury are identified in the South Carolina Code of Laws. Committing any of these forms of perjury could result in criminal charges and prosecution. The three types of perjury include:
- Perjury and subornation of perjury (i.e., convincing someone to commit perjury)
- Subornation of perjury in civil actions
- False swearing before persons authorized to administer oaths
Perjury or subornation of perjury involves willfully giving false, misleading, or incomplete information either in testimony under oath or on a legal document. Subornation of perjury in civil actions involves willfully persuading another person to commit perjury either in initiating a civil action or in providing false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath.
Falsely swearing before persons authorized to administer oaths involves willfully swearing to tell the truth under oath while not actually intending to do so. A Charleston attorney could explain the laws on each offense in greater detail and answer questions regarding the types of actions that constitute perjury under state law.
Penalties for Perjury Convictions
Committing perjury by willfully giving false or misleading testimony under oath in any court in the state is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine in an amount determined by the court. Committing perjury by willfully reporting false or misleading information on a required document or record such as an affidavit, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of at least $100.
In civil proceedings, intentionally persuading another person to give false, misleading, or incomplete testimony while under oath is a misdemeanor, as is willfully persuading another person to commit perjury in initiating a civil action. Both misdemeanor offenses are punishable by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of at least $200.
The offense of falsely swearing before persons authorized to administer oaths is a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine in an amount determined by the court. A lawyer in Charleston could answer questions regarding the penalties associated with the different forms of perjury.
Consult with a Charleston Perjury Attorney
Attempting to fight a perjury charge without legal representation could be extremely challenging, as you need to have an understanding of both state perjury laws and the nuances of legal system.
An attorney could review the details of your case and recommend an appropriate course of action, such as filing a motion for dismissal or preparing a legal defense to the charges against you. If you are facing charges, consult with a Charleston perjury attorney about your case right away.