If you lie under oath or give a false statement to police, you can be charged with a crime under Minnesota law. Depending on the specifics, you can be charged with a couple of different crimes, but the most common is perjury. Today, we take a closer look at the crime of perjury, and we explain how we can help defend clients who have been charged with perjury.
The Crime of Perjury
Under Minnesota law, it is a crime to willfully and knowingly tell lies to law enforcement officers, public officials and the court in regards to the commission of a crime. Now, as a defense attorney, we need to be clear that there’s a big difference between telling the truth and saying only what needs to be said during the course of an investigation, because remember that you have the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. You shouldn’t lie, but also you shouldn’t share details that will serve to hurt your case. Remember that police are actively building a case against you.
Under Minnesota law, perjury is the act of knowingly making false statements to law enforcement or public officials, and it is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Beating a perjury charge isn’t the easiest, because there usually has to be significant grounds for the court to bring perjury charges against you in the first place. However, some common defenses to perjury include:
- You did not know that your statement was false when you gave it.
- You did not willingly give a false statement (you felt threatened to give a certain statement, etc.)
- You retracted the statement before it had a significant impact on the case.
- Your statement was in fact true.
- You were not under oath at the time.
- The statement was not material.
For example, if you truly thought the testimony you gave was correct, or you accidentally screwed up a fact about the case, you can have a perjury charged dropped. It’s not going to be easy to win your case, which is why we recommend that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you end up facing perjury charges.
For more information about the crime of perjury, or to talk to a Twin Cities criminal defense lawyer about your case, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced lawyer at Appelman Law Firm.