Normally the danger of prosecution has passed by the time you get to the stand, but there are circumstances in which you can find yourself facing a new criminal charge right in the middle of your case, or even while testifying at another person's trial. Perjury, a crime against justice, criminalizes false statements made while under oath. A false statement provided in a context for which your testimony could be subpoenaed; such as a sworn statement, affidavit, deposition, or trail testimony, may result in a perjury charge.
Overview of California Perjury Laws
The following chart provides an overview of the elements, defenses, and penalties of California perjury laws:
|Statutes||California Penal Code Sections 118-131|
For a conviction, California perjury law requires the following elements:
|Penalties and Sentences||The punishment for a conviction varies depending on the circumstances or consequences of the perjury. A perjury conviction could result in felony sentencing of two, three, or four years. The sentence might change due to the defendant's past or current conviction record.
If the defendant willfully caused or pursued the conviction and execution of an innocent person through perjury, the defendant can receive a sentence of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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A perjury charge is definitive proof that a legal issue can snowball into more trouble if you aren't careful. A qualified lawyer can help you navigate your perjury case while avoiding the creation of new problems. Contact a local attorney for a free initial case evaluation to get started.
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