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Perjury

Perjury is the making of a false statement under oath with knowledge of its falsity. This is a criminal act, and while it might seem harmless in certain criminal trial, it still remains an unlawful activity. The use of false statements under oath, such as in hearings, trials, or depositions, makes a mockery of the criminal proceedings, and thus is unlawful as against the administration of criminal justice. To prove the crime of Perjury, the State Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal suspect took an oath or otherwise affirmed that he or she was obligated by conscience or by law to speak the truth in an official or unofficial proceeding, that the oath or affirmation was made to a person or body in his, her, or its official capacity, that the criminal suspect, while under an oath, made a statement, that the statement was false, and that the criminal suspect did not believe the statement was true when he or she made it. Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of this criminal offense, and the criminal suspect’s mistaken belief that his or her statement was not material is not a defense to the criminal charge. The law requires the judge to decide if the alleged statement is material. To prove the criminal offense of Perjury by Contradictory Statements, the State Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal suspect took an oath or otherwise affirmed that he or she was obligated by conscience or by law to speak the truth in an official or unofficial proceeding, that the criminal suspect made a statement in this proceeding, that the criminal suspect made another statement in that same proceeding or a different proceeding, that the criminal suspect made both statements while under oath or affirmation, that the statements were contradictory, which means that both statements could not be true, and that the criminal suspect made both statements knowingly and intentionally. It is not necessary for the State Attorney to prove that either of the statements is untrue, if the State Attorney has proved that they are contradictory. The jury should acquit the criminal suspect if it finds that the criminal suspect believed each statement to be true at the time that he or she made it. The law requires the judge to decide if the alleged statements are material.

If you have been charged with Perjury in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, or Miami Dade County, you should consult an experienced competent criminal defense attorney who can represent you in criminal court. Kenneth P. Hassett of Hassett and Associates, P.A. is a criminal defense attorney who represents clients in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami Dade County, and the rest of South Florida. Having a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in criminal court is advantageous, especially when charged with serious criminal offenses. Contact Hassett and Associates, P.A. for an immediate free consultation 24 hours per day seven days per week with a Fort Lauderdale Perjury Defense Lawyer if you have been charged with these criminal offenses.

837.012 Perjury when not in an official proceeding.

(1) Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath, not in an official proceeding, in regard to any material matter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of this crime, and the defendant’s mistaken belief that his or her statement was not material is not a defense.

837.02 Perjury in official proceedings.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding in regard to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding that relates to the prosecution of a capital felony, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of the crime of perjury under subsection (1) or subsection (2), and the defendant’s mistaken belief that the statement was not material is not a defense.

837.021 Perjury by contradictory statements.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whoever, in one or more official proceedings, willfully makes two or more material statements under oath which contradict each other, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) Whoever, in one or more official proceedings that relate to the prosecution of a capital felony, willfully makes two or more material statements under oath which contradict each other, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) In any prosecution for perjury under this section:
(a) The prosecution may proceed in a single count by setting forth the willful making of contradictory statements under oath and alleging in the alternative that one or more of them are false.
(b) The question of whether a statement was material is a question of law to be determined by the court.
(c) It is not necessary to prove which, if any, of the contradictory statements is not true.
(d) It is a defense that the accused believed each statement to be true at the time the statement was made.

(4) A person may not be prosecuted under this section for making contradictory statements in separate proceedings if the contradictory statement made in the most recent proceeding was made under a grant of immunity under s. 914.04; but such person may be prosecuted under s. 837.02 for any false statement made in that most recent proceeding, and the contradictory statements may be received against him or her upon any criminal investigation or proceeding for such perjury.

Disclaimer

The information on this page does not represent legal advice. Florida Statues obtained from Online Sunshine, www.leg.state.fl.us, the official site of the Florida Legislature. Because the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained herein may be out of date. It is always wise to seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney like Kenneth Hassett.

If you have been charged as an Accessory After the Fact or a Principal in the First Degree to a criminal offense in Broward or Miami-Dade County, call Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett.