Frederick County Perjury Lawyer
For many people, the thought of testifying at a trial or hearing could be terrifying. Courtrooms and legal documents are foreign for many people and this unfamiliarity may lead to mistakes. When those mistakes result in a false statement under oath, it could lead to charges of perjury.
These circumstances are often made worse when emotions are running high. In many cases, testifying at a legal hearing is a result of serious interpersonal conflict. These high emotions could lead a normally truthful person to say something that they know is untrue. A Frederick County perjury lawyer could help a person work their way out of problems caused by a perjury charge.
Understanding Perjury Charges
The charge of perjury is defined by Maryland Criminal Code Section 9-101, perjury relates to the making of a false statement. Many think of perjury entirely as the crime of lying under oath while testifying in court. While that is a common example of the crime, the statute covers more than just personal testimony in front of a jury or judge.
Any willfully false statement made under oath could lead to a perjury charge. In addition to during trial testimony, statements are commonly made under oath in affidavits and government forms. A false statement in any of these cases could lead to a perjury arrest.
It is important to understand that perjury is a crime of intent. Giving an opinion or simply being wrong cannot rise to the level of perjury. A person only commits perjury when they knowingly make a false statement.
It is also a crime to suborn perjury. Suborning perjury involves procuring another person to make a false statement under oath knowingly. Whether making false statements or convincing another person to do the same, a perjury charge should be discussed with a Frederick County attorney right away to start building a defense.
Contradictory Statements Under Oath in Frederick County
The perjury statute also creates a presumption about contradictory statements made under oath. When a person makes two contradictory statements under oath, and one of them must be false, the prosecutor does not have to prove which one is true to obtain a conviction. If the contradictory statements are made at different times and in different counties, the State’s Attorney for that county could bring charges in either or both of their respective counties.
A conviction for perjury could lead to a lengthy jail sentence in many cases. The severity of the penalties depends in part on the circumstances. Perjury is a misdemeanor, but that does not mean the penalties will be light. A conviction carries at most ten years behind bars, with no minimum sentence. However, a court is more likely to issue a harsh sentence if there are prior perjury convictions. A Frederick County perjury attorney could work to reduce the impact of these convictions and potentially keep the defendant out of jail entirely.
Reach Out to a Frederick County Perjury Attorney
While perjury could just be the result of a lapse in judgment that happens in the blink of an eye, the potential consequences could last much longer. Given the severity of the maximum sentence, it is important that you address these charges immediately. A Frederick County perjury lawyer could carefully review the charges you are facing and assist you with crafting a strong defense. Call now to learn more.