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

The criminal defense process in Minnesota constitutes several steps, starting with investigations and culminating with appeals. This process can be long and exhausting. An arrest alone can leave you scared, confused, and overwhelmed with emotions. Making logical decisions in this state can be difficult, especially if it is your first time interacting with the criminal justice system.
The first thing to do after you have been accused of a sex crime in Minneapolis, MN, is to familiarize yourself with the seriousness of the situation. The next thing is to seek legal guidance from a lawyer who has established a practice by successfully defending people facing sex crime accusations. You should also collect and preserve all proof that can help support your defense strategy.
One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.