Pennsylvania Perjury Lawyer

Perjury is a third degree felony offense under Pennsylvania law. A conviction can result in jail time and/or a prison sentence.

If the Commonwealth has charged you with perjury, you should not delay in contacting a Pennsylvania perjury lawyer. A skilled attorney could safeguard your rights and represent you throughout your case.

What is the Crime of Perjury?

If the accused makes a known false statement during an official legal proceeding while under oath – and after having promised to tell the truth – the Commonwealth can charge them with perjury.

The Commonwealth can also charge someone with perjury if they allege, under oath, that a prior statement was true, assuming the statement is material and the accused does not really believe in its truth.

If the accused retracts their false statement before it can materially impact the outcome of the legal proceeding, the Commonwealth may not charge them with perjury.

What are the Applicable Legal Defenses to Perjury?

Several legal defenses apply to Pennsylvania perjury charges. When the Commonwealth charges someone with perjury, the defense attorney may be able to raise some or all of these legal defenses:

  • Mistake of fact – The accused may be able to allege that although they were mistaken about something, they actually believed that their statement under oath was true. On the other hand, if a lawyer asks the witness a question under oath, the witness does not know the answer, and they guess about it, they may have perjured themselves.
  • Entrapment – If a government agent, such as a police officer, entices a witness to testify untruthfully about certain facts in their case, then the accused may be able to raise entrapment as a defense.
  • Intoxication – A court may not hold a witness accountable for a statement they made under oath if they were intoxicated (e.g., by alcohol or drugs) at the time they made it. This defense is exceptionally rare, however, since it is extremely unlikely that a prosecutor or judge will allow a visibly intoxicated person to testify at a trial or other legal proceeding.
  • Lack of knowledge – The accused may allege that at the time they answered a particular question under oath, their knowledge was lacking. For example, they may not have fully understood the question the prosecutor was asking, or they may have answered a question or provided a statement using poor word choice.

What are the Potential Penalties for Perjury?

If the Commonwealth finds the accused guilty of perjury, the court may sentence them to a maximum of seven years in jail. A judge also has discretion to impose a monetary fine in addition to (or as an alternative to) the jail sentence. The amount of the fine and/or the length of incarceration depend upon all of the facts and circumstances involved in the criminal case.

A perjury attorney in Pennsylvania can help to minimize the likelihood and impact of these consequences.

Talk to a Pennsylvania Perjury Attorney Today

Telling a deliberate falsehood during a court proceeding and while under oath is a serious crime that can land you in jail under some circumstances. In order to maximize your chances of success at trial, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner at every stage of your case.

A Pennsylvania perjury lawyer understands the seriousness of the charge and the potential penalties you may face. Your lawyer can aggressively advocate for you in the courtroom and negotiate with Commonwealth prosecutors on your behalf.