Columbia Perjury Lawyer

If you have ever watched a television courtroom drama, you have probably heard of the term “perjury.” Simply put, perjury is an unlawful form of lying under oath. Of course, lying in and of itself is not a crime. However, when someone lies in court or on a legally binding document, those falsehoods are typically considered a criminal offense. Depending on the circumstances, perjury could be a misdemeanor charge (false information to police) or a felony charge. If you are facing perjury charges, call a Columbia perjury lawyer.

A skilled defense attorney could examine the factors and circumstances of your case to help determine an effective legal strategy. A perjury charge may result in a variety of legal consequences that could negatively impact a person’s life. Before attempting to handle a perjury accusation alone, consult an attorney who is familiar with such cases.

Perjury Defined by Law

State law clearly defines perjury in South Carolina Code Section16-9-10, which prohibits willfully giving “false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath in any court of record, judicial, administrative, or regulatory proceeding in this State.”

Importantly, this law also defines perjury as “willfully giv[ing] false, misleading, or incomplete information on a document, record, report, or form required by the laws of this State.” According to state law, someone could commit perjury even if they are not providing testimony in court. Perjury could occur in a variety of cases, such as domestic violence, drug possession or driving under the influence offenses.

Perjury While Under Oath

When most people think of perjury, they think about a witness in a criminal case lying while testifying in court. While such action is certainly one form of perjury, it is not the only form. As defined above, perjury in Columbia can include giving false, misleading, or incomplete testimony while under oath in any court. This means that someone could commit perjury if they intentionally lie or deceive during their testimony in:

  • Any court case, civil or criminal
  • A deposition
  • A grand jury hearing
  • Other court hearings

Perjury while under oath is considered a felony in Columbia. Those convicted of this crime could face up to five years in prison.

Perjury on Documents

Providing false information on any document that is required by the state is another form of perjury. Such documents can include:

  • Tax forms
  • Affidavits
  • Written statements to the police
  • Income verification forms
  • Driver’s license forms
  • Education forms

Those convicted of this kind of perjury face a misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by a $100 fine and up to six months in jail.

Note that the law, as defined above, states perjury occurs when someone provides false information on documents “required by the state.” This means that if someone intentionally provides the wrong information on any other type of form (such as falsely completing a registration form at the doctor’s office), they generally have not committed perjury. The distinction between state-required forms and other document is an important one in many perjury cases.

Defending Against Perjury Charges

In any perjury case, prosecutors must prove the defendant knew the information they provided was false. However, it does not really matter whether the information was factually correct.

Someone could genuinely believe a falsehood was a fact, and present that information to the court or on a legal document. In that scenario, that person did not commit perjury because they did not willfully provide false or misleading information. A Columbia perjury lawyer could defend a person potentially by providing evidence that they believed the information was accurate when they testified in court or completed the state-required document.

Talking to a Columbia Perjury Attorney

If you or a loved one is facing a perjury charge, retaining legal counsel could substantially help your case. Call to speak with an experienced attorney about your case and learn how a Columbia perjury lawyer could help advocate on your behalf.