Under both Florida and federal law, intentionally providing false information in court is considered a criminal offense. That crime is called perjury, and although it’s a relatively simple crime, it carries consequences which can be devastating for the accused. Perjury can be punished by imprisonment for up to 15 years.
If you have been accused or arrest for perjury, it’s imperative that you meet immediately with an experienced Criminal Attorney In Miami to discuss the various legal alternatives or options available to you.
Under Florida state law, lying under oath is distinguished from lying in any other situation. Generally, the more serious the results of the lie and the context of it, the greater the penalty for perjury will likely be. Lying during official proceedings generally carries a penalty of up to 5 years and a $5,000 fine. However, lying during official proceedings in connection with a capital felony is a second-degree offense and can be enforced with up to 15 years of imprisonment.
Since official proceedings are the most severe, let’s delve deeper into the definition of that term.
Agents of an Official Proceeding
For a hearing to be considered official, one or more of the following must be present
- Judges of Administrative Law
- Special or General Magistrates
- Hearing Examiners
- Hearing Officers
- Notaries or
- Any other individual who takes depositions or testimonies related to an official proceeding.
As for non-official proceedings, persons can still be charged with perjury as a misdemeanor. The penalty for this breach of conduct can be up to a year in jail.
Materiality in Florida
In other states, when deciding the seriousness of a perjury crime, prosecutors may have to prove whether the person who provides false witness is considered “material.” A material witness is a witness that could damage the verdict of the case through their act of false witness. In Florida, however, prosecutors are not required to prove materiality.
This is an important aspect of defining perjury, as the materiality defense can’t be used after the act. It also underlines the importance of hiring a criminal defense attorney in Miami with the relevant knowledge and skill. A criminal defense attorney in Miami can be helpful if they can show:
- The defendant took no oath to tell the truth.
- The oath did not imply that the defendant was bound by law to tell the truth.
- The defendant had no knowledge of the fact that they were lying under oath
- Perjury was committed by the defendant under duress
- The false statement was retracted before it could have any material effect on proceedings.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, an experienced criminal attorney in Miami is often your best hope of having charges reduced or potentially thrown out of court.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.
View more contact information here: Criminal Attorney In Miami.