The Best Legal Defenses Against Perjury


After you have sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, everything that you say afterward will be considered either truth or perjury. Perjury can only occur when you are under oath and perjury only applies to statements you make. If a perjury charge happens to come up during your legal case, then your lawyer may need to defend you.

Argue That You Believed You Told the Truth

The good news is that perjury is very difficult to prove because the prosecutor must prove intent. For that reason, it can be very difficult to prove that someone has actually committed perjury. Given that perjury requires the intention to mislead, you cannot be found guilty of perjury if your attorney can prove that you believed what you said was the truth, even if it is later found to be false. For example, if you thought you saw the defendant in one location, but it was actually a lookalike, your lawyer may be able to use this as a defense.

Make the Literal Truth Claim

When a lawyer is questioning you and the lawyer is not specific enough, you may be able to use a literal truth defense. This is when something that you say is technically true, but would be considered misleading. But since you were still telling the truth. An opportunity to use this defense is uncommon because lawyers will usually ask specific questions to avoid this issue, but if a lawyer accidentally asks a vague question, this defense can be used against a charge of perjury.

Point Out That You Didn't Understand the Question

Another defense for a situation where a lawyer asks a vague question is to argue that you did not understand the question. It can be very difficult to prove that you actually understood the question, which can make it more difficult to convict you of perjury.

Consider Whether the Statement Was Actually Made In Court

If your statement was not made within the court or a different proceeding, but in the confusion of the case, you are charged with perjury, your lawyer will argue that the statement you are being charged over was not made within the proceeding and that you should therefore not be found guilty for it.

Make Consistent Statements

Make sure that your statements are always consistent. While inconsistent statements will not hurt you if these inconsistencies have no impact on the proceeding, if they do, you may be found guilty of perjury.

It may be difficult to convict you, but this doesn't mean you should lie under oath with the hope that you can craft an effective legal defense against perjury. There is always a risk that you'll be convicted and even if you aren't defending yourself in court can be a real hassle. To find out more, speak with someone like The Reed Noble Law Firm PLLC.


21 July 2015