Is Lying Under Oath Considered a Federal Crime?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-crimes-attorney_20220628-215547_1.jpgNow that the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard verdict has been handed down by the court, many people have asked the same question: Did Amber Heard commit perjury? Many people use terms like “lying under oath,” and “perjury,” but few understand exactly what they mean. Perjury is a federal criminal offense prohibited by multiple federal statutes. Anyone accused of perjury or another federal offense should contact a federal criminal defense attorney right away to get legal advice for their particular situation.

Swearing to Tell the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Individuals who provide testimony in court are required to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Being sworn in binds a person to honesty. Telling a lie on the witness stand is not like lying elsewhere. Lying under oath is a serious criminal offense because it undermines the justice system.

Lying or making false statements in court is not always perjury. Perjury occurs when a lie is told while under oath. Furthermore, perjury only includes false statements. Refusing to answer a question or remaining silent is not perjury. You cannot face perjury charges because of something you did not say. However, refusing to provide information or answer a question may potentially lead to contempt of court charges or other adverse consequences.

Perjury is a Crime of Intent  

Many people involved in court proceedings only know their own side of the story. They may be unaware of certain information pertinent to the case or be mistaken about certain facts. Fortunately, accidentally making a false statement is not perjury. Lying under oath is only perjury if the individual knowingly lied with the purpose of deceiving the court. False statements must also be “material statements,” meaning that the statements were directly relevant to the case. However, lying under oath – even about irrelevant information – is never a good idea.

Contact an Illinois Federal Criminal Offense Lawyer

If you or a loved one are facing federal charges for fraud, identity theft, money laundering, possession of child pornography, or any other offense, contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. Chicago federal criminal defense attorney Hal M. Garfinkel can provide the legal support and aggressive representation you need. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation.

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