When many people make false statements to investigators, they rarely consider the consequences of what may happen if they are later charged with this crime. Unbeknownst to most people, making false statements is considered a felony, and thus carries with it significant prison time if convicted. However, by hiring a skilled defense attorney who deals with federal crimes on a regular basis, your lawyer can evaluate your situation and often speak to law enforcement officials on your behalf. By doing so, this lays the groundwork for your defense.
The Interview Process
When you have agreed to comply with federal investigators, charges of making false statements may come after your interview with investigators. Since they often work in pairs during an interview, investigators will use intimidation tactics and other methods to keep you disoriented and confused. As a result, you may mistakenly say something that is inaccurate, allowing investigators to charge you with making false statements. As in any situation where you are being interviewed by law enforcement, it is best to say as little as possible until you have a defense attorney present during the questioning process. In doing so, you can avoid incriminating yourself and be able to gain much-needed advice as to what questions should or should not be answered.
False Statement Offenses
Along with making false statements to investigators during an interview, there are other situations where these charges may be levied against you. For example, if you are called by a subpoena to testify before Congress or to a grand jury, never lie or misrepresent any of the facts being discussed. Even if you are not officially under oath in these situations, you can still be charged with making false statements. Also, if you are testifying at a trial in federal court, false statement charges may also be brought against you if what you say in court differs from what you told investigators in an interview.
False Statements and Financial Institutions
In some situations, you may be charged with making false statements if you provide false information with the intent to mislead a bank or other financial institution. Often occurring when individuals apply for loans or mortgages, you will also have fraud charges brought against you as well. In addition, the same rules for being charged with making false statements also apply to you if you provide misleading information to insurance companies regarding a claim or when applying for healthcare coverage.
False Statement Penalties
While you can be charged only with making false statements, most individuals are facing these charges in addition to many others associated with their case. A common charge in white-collar crimes, investigators will often begin with these charges as a way of intimidating a person into telling them the truth about many other related matters. Nevertheless, if you are convicted of making false statements to investigators or others, expect to receive a prison sentence of as much as eight years, although this can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. To have the best possible chance of receiving as light a sentence as possible, rely on a defense attorney who understands the federal judicial system and how to work with investigators and prosecutors to lessen the charges against you.
Defenses to False Statement Charges
While investigators and others will make you believe you have no viable defenses to false statement charges, this is not true. In fact, once you hire a knowledgeable defense attorney, you will learn you have many defenses at the ready for your case. For the government to be successful in its prosecution regarding these charges, it must prove you made false statements willingly and knowingly. However, it is crucial to remember that if you accidentally made false statements or made statements you believed to be true at the time, you cannot be convicted of these charges.
Since the prosecution has a large burden of proof on its shoulders, hiring the best New Jersey false statements lawyers can result in your case turning out far better than you imagined. By having an attorney who will fight to protect your legal rights along the way, you can move forward with confidence.