Are you facing criminal charges for perjury in San Diego? If so, contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC for assistance. Our attorneys have more than 16 years of experience handling a variety of criminal matters, including perjury cases. We know that your future is on the line and that a conviction for perjury can have devastating consequences. In some cases, you can be sentenced to as many as four years in a California state prison and be required to pay up to $10,000 in fines.
Once you have served your time, you will still be faced with the reality of living with a criminal record. This will make it difficult to find and maintain a job, rent or buy a home, and can even result in the loss of your right to own a gun. Contact our office today to learn about how we can help you avoid these (and other) consequences in your perjury case.
When Can You Be Charged With Perjury?
Most people think that perjury can only occur when you are on the witness stand in a criminal trial. In reality, perjury is a crime that occurs whenever you intentionally lie after having been sworn to tell the truth in a legal proceeding. This means that you can be charged with perjury for a fairly broad range of behaviors. You can face perjury charges for:
- Lying as a witness under oath in a criminal trial;
- Making a false statement in a deposition after a car accident;
- Providing false information on your application for a California driver’s license; and
- Intentionally underreporting your income on an affidavit related to your divorce.
California Perjury Laws
The crime of perjury is defined in California Penal Code Section 118 PC. You can be charged with perjury in San Diego if:
- You have knowingly taken an oath to testify truthfully;
- Before a competent tribunal, officer, or person; and
- Intentionally lie about information that is material to the issue at hand.
In San Diego, an oath is defined as “an affirmation or any other method authorized by law to affirm the truth of a statement.”
Elements of Perjury
In order to be convicted of perjury, the prosecution must be able to prove that you are guilty of each element of the crime. If the prosecution cannot establish every element of the crime you cannot be convicted. In San Diego, the crime of perjury consists of five elements:
- You testified under penalty of perjury;
- You willfully stated that information was true even though you knew it was false;
- The information was material to the issue at hand;
- You knew you were making the false statement under the penalty of perjury; and
- You intended to testify falsely.
What is Material Information?
According to California law, information is material if “it is probable that the information would inﬂuence the outcome of the proceedings.” This information does not have to change the outcome of a proceeding. This information must only be capable of changing the outcome of a proceeding. Whether or not information is material is a question of fact that is decided by a judge or jury.
Penalties for Perjury
Perjury is a felony offense in San Diego. The criminal sentence that you will face will depend on the seriousness of your crime, whether anyone was harmed because of your actions, and your prior criminal history. Convictions for perjury in San Diego can be punished by fines of up to $10,000 and:
- Probation and up to 12 months in a San Diego County jail; or
- Up to four years in a California state prison.
If your crime of perjury results in the conviction and execution of another person you can be sentenced to life in prison or be sentenced to death under California’s death penalty statute.
Defenses to Charges of Perjury
The prosecution must prove that you are guilty of the crime of perjury beyond a reasonable doubt. When you hire an attorney to defend you they will argue any legal defense that may cast doubt on your guilt. Your attorney’s job will be to make it as difficult as possible for the prosecution to prove their case to this high standard. Defenses to the crime of perjury in San Diego include:
- You did not know that you were under oath at the time you gave the false statement;
- You did not intentionally lie;
- You did not know that the information you provided was false;
- The information was not material to the issue at hand;
- You misunderstood the question(s) you were asked; and
- You were falsely accused of lying under oath.
Crimes Related to Perjury
San Diego also has other laws that prohibit conduct similar to lying under oath. These crimes are related to, but different from, perjury. In some cases, you can be charged with these criminal offenses in addition to perjury.
Filing False Documents
It is a crime to intentionally and knowingly submit documents to a public office that you know to be false or the product of forgery. [California Penal Code 115 PC]
Making a False Report
It is a crime to falsely report a crime that did not occur. This includes making false reports in person and/or calling 911 without a valid reason. [California Penal Code 148.5 PC]
It is a crime to convince, persuade, or force another person to commit perjury. [California Penal Code 127 PC]
Experienced San Diego Perjury Attorney
Are you or someone you love facing criminal charges for perjury in San Diego? If so, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC for help. If you are convicted for lying under oath in San Diego your life will never be the same. You will face up to four years in prison, be required to pay expensive fines, and will find it difficult to adjust to life with a criminal record. In some cases, your rights to participate in government programs and own a firearm can be revoked. If you hold a professional license it may be rescinded, leaving you without the ability to work in your current profession. It is important to understand that your chances of achieving a positive result increase when you hire an attorney.
At the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, we have nearly two decades of experience handling all criminal matters, including charges for perjury. Contact our office today to learn about how we can help you fight for your future. The decisions you make today will affect your future, so it is important to act quickly. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can begin developing a legal strategy to minimize the negative consequences of your criminal charges for perjury.