Most Indianapolis residents have likely heard of the crime of perjury. That is because it is a popular criminal law theme on courtroom dramas aired during primetime. Perjury claims can make for highly tense moments between lawyers, witnesses, and judges on television, but they are also very serious charges in the real world. This post discusses 3 important facts about perjury under Indiana law, but all readers are reminded that this post does not offer any legal advice.
Fact #1: Perjury concerns material statements
Being a witness at trial can be stressful. It can be easy to confuse details in one’s mind and get dates or times wrong as the flood of memories about an event come back to mind. Witnesses are not perfect, and sometimes the wrong information comes out of their mouths.
Not every mistake made by a witness under oath is perjury. Perjury only concerns material facts, not minor ones. A material fact is an important or essential fact to the matter at hand. When material facts are wrong, issues of perjury may arise.
Fact #2: Perjury is intentional
Even when a witness makes a mistake about a material fact while under oath, the incident may not be perjury. That is because perjury is intentional. A person must mean to state a wrong fact or must not believe the fact to be true. Perjury can also happen when a person makes conflicting statements about the same matter while under oath.
Fact #3: Perjury is a felony
Lying under oath may not seem like a big deal, but it impedes justice and creates problems that ripple through the legal process. In Indiana, perjury is penalized as a felony and individuals can face steep sanctions for charges that result in convictions.
An allegation of perjury is serious and should be met with strong defensive planning. Not all Indiana residents are equipped to do this on their own. Kammen & Moudy is available to support those facing perjury charges with their case development, representation, and post-trial needs.