Have You Been Charged with Perjury in Georgia?
If you or a loved one has been charged with perjury, you need an experienced perjury lawyer in Georgia. Perjury occurs when someone lies during a court proceeding. Many people confuse perjury with false swearing, and while they share some similarities, ultimately, they are two different charges. False swearing applies in situations outside of juridical proceedings, and even includes signed documents that purport to be an acknowledgement of a lawful oath. Both charges are serious and require the assistance of an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call now for a free consultation with one of our Georgia Perjury Attorneys.
Georgia Law on Perjury
Under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-70, a person commits perjury when he knowingly and willfully makes a false statement material to the issue or point in question in a judicial proceeding.
The essential elements of perjury are
- Knowingly and willfully making a false statement,
- Material to the issue or point in question,
- While under oath in a judicial proceeding. (Sneiderman v. State, 336 Ga. App. 153, (2016)).
Georgia courts have ruled throughout the years that perjury requires both the intent to testify falsely and the act of false testimony. Gates v. State, 252 Ga App. 20, (2001).
One of the questions people have been charged with perjury is whether the statement was material. The test of materiality under the perjury statute is whether the alleged false statement could have influenced the decision as to the question at issue in the judicial proceeding.
Furthermore, if a person made more than 1 false statement under the same oath, they will not be charged with multiple counts of perjury. Instead, it may supply grounds for a heavier penalty than would otherwise be imposed.
Penalty for a Perjury Conviction in Georgia
The penalty for a person convicted of perjury will be punished by a fine up to $1,000, or by a prison term between one and ten years, or both. A person convicted of perjury will be charged with a felony. Furthermore, a person convicted of perjury when it was the cause of another person being in prison shall be sentenced to a term equal to or less than for the crime for which the other person was convicted. However, if the perjury caused someone to be executed, then the defendant will face life in prison. Additionally, a felony conviction on your record can make it difficult to obtain employment, housing, or credit.
Defenses to a Perjury Charge in Georgia
The accused thought they were telling the truth: Under Richards v. State, the Court ruled the defendant's belief that their testimony is truthful will be an absolute defense to a perjury charge regardless of whether the testimony is actually false. 131 Ga. App. 362, (1974).
The accused was silent or refused to testify: A person cannot be convicted of perjury by being silent or refusing to testify. West v. State, 492 S.E.2d 576, (1997).
The false statements were not material to the point: Even if a false statement was made, a person can be acquitted of a perjury charge if it was not material to the issue or the point in question.
The accused did not knowingly or willfully make a false statement: If you made a false statement but thought it was correct or made a mistake, then your Perjury Lawyer in Georgia could argue that the statements were not intentionally false. Therefore, you are unable to be convicted of perjury.
The defendant was under oath: If the defendant had not been sworn in yet, then their false testimony cannot be considered perjury.
Contact Us Today
If you have bee charged with perjury, contact us immediately. There is no time to waste in prepping your defense! Our team of perjury lawyers in Georgia are here to help you! Call now.