Perjury can occur when you make false statements verbally under oath or by written declaration on legal documents or forms.
In most cases, perjury occurs in a courtroom setting or in administrative proceedings. It can also occur in various circumstances in which you are required to provide relevant information, usually to a government entity.
Enlisting the help of a Chattanooga perjury lawyer could be advantageous when you are facing these charges. The consequences for committing perjury, aggravated perjury, or subornation perjury can be severe, but an experienced criminal attorney can help you mount a strong defense.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-16-702 defines perjury as engaging in any of the following behaviors with the intent to deceive others:
A closely-related crime to perjury is subornation of perjury, defined under T.C.A. § 39-16-705. Subornation of perjury occurs when individuals with an intent to deceive cause others to make false statements that constitute perjury or aggravated perjury.
T.C.A. § 39-16-707 clarifies that if individuals make two or more inconsistent statements, of which two cannot both be true, then they can face perjury or aggravated perjury charges as applicable. The prosecution is not required to discern or prove which inconsistent statements are true and which are false. A local attorney can further explain the state’s perjury laws during an initial consultation.
Perjury is a Class A misdemeanor offense. Individuals convicted of a Class A misdemeanor may face up to 11 months and 29 days of incarceration and a maximum $2,500 fine. Subornation of perjury is also a Class A misdemeanor offense.
Certain perjury offenses can result in higher charges. For instance, if individuals commit perjury on an application for a handgun carry permit, they can face Class E felony charges. Likewise, if individuals commit perjury on a sexual offender or violent sexual offender T.B.I. registration form, they also may be charged with a Class E felony.
For a Class E felony offense, individuals may face a prison sentence of one to six years. They also may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $3,000. A perjury attorney in the area may be useful in helping build a strong defense against these charges.
In some cases, a perjury offense can rise to aggravated perjury under T.C.A. § 39-16-703. When individuals commit perjury during or in connection with an official proceeding, and the false statement is material, the offense becomes aggravated perjury. Additionally, individuals cannot raise the defense that they did not believe the false statement to be material to shield themselves from these aggravated charges, nor can they raise irregularities in the administration of the oath under T.C.A. § 39-16-706.
However, T.C.A. § 39-16-704 states that one potential defense to prosecution for aggravated perjury is retraction. If an individual retracts the false statements before they complete their testimony during an official proceeding, they may have a valid defense under this code section.
Aggravated perjury is a Class D felony under state law. Individuals convicted of this crime may serve a prison sentence ranging from two to 12 years and a fine of no more than $5,000. However, the subornation of aggravated perjury is a Class E felony, which carries the potential for a lesser sentence.
Perjury and aggravated perjury cases can involve complicated and challenging legal and evidentiary issues. Getting the help of a Chattanooga perjury lawyer can allow you to defend yourself against these charges successfully.
By engaging in aggressive investigation and negotiation tactics, legal counsel may be able to help resolve the charges against you. Together, you could mount the most effective legal defense possible to charges of perjury, aggravated perjury, or subornation of perjury.