Female witness lies under oath as the Jury watches as an attorney questions her

When a Witness Lies Under Oath

A witness who lies under oath is committing a criminal act and can be charged with perjury, a serious offense with legal consequences.

Female witness lies under oath as the Jury watches as an attorney questions her

Lying Under Oath Is a Crime

People who testify in court are ordered to tell the truth. Disobeying this court order can result in serious penalties. Lying on the stand under oath is known as perjury, a serious offense that may require defense from a criminal attorney. A witness charged with perjury can face steep monetary fines, probation, jail time, and even problems with security clearances and gainful employment.

Perjury is often considered obstruction of justice because it compromises the integrity of the entire justice system. Perjury is not just saying something under oath that another side disagrees with or has a different recollection or opinion about. Perjury is knowingly making false or misleading statements while under oath that intentionally deceive the court. Since judges and juries make decisions based on witness testimonies and evidence, lying under oath can cause significant harm to a defendant in a criminal case. An innocent defendant may be found guilty for a crime that he/she did not commit based on untruthful testimony.

Legal Consequences of Perjury

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers Max Keller

Committing perjury is considered a criminal matter, not a civil matter. If any type of witness in a criminal case lies under oath, he/she can face arrest and criminal punishments. There is no legal recourse to recover restitution for a person who is harmed by a dishonest testimony. However, if it is discovered that the witness lied on the stand, an attorney can ask that criminal perjury charges be filed against the witness. That evidence can also be cause for an appeal if the court denies the request for perjury charges. The law does not favor civil remedies against a witness who commits perjury.

A witness who commits perjury can face state and federal criminal charges. Under federal law, a person convicted of perjury can be imprisoned in a federal penitentiary for up to five years. Immigrants who are not U.S. citizens can face deportation. In Minnesota, a perjury conviction is punishable by fines up to $10,000 and prison time up to five years. If a witness lies in a felony trial, perjury is punishable by fines up to $14,000 and prison time up to seven years.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.