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Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:34 pm
So far we’ve looked at crimes such as larceny, healthcare fraud, bribery, and others in an attempt to peel back the layers of the New York penal law. In this post, we’re going to continue that exploration, this time with crimes involving perjury and false statements. But first, we’re going to need some definitions before we get started.
Now that we’ve gotten the definitions, let’s look at the charges. For perjury in the third degree, someone is guilty when they swear falsely. This charge is a class A misdemeanor.
For this charge you’re guilty if you swear falsely and your false statement is made in a written instrument that requires an oath by law, and if it’s made with the intent to mislead a public servant, and it’s material to the action. This charge is a class E felony.
You’re guilty of this last charge when you swear falsely and your false statement consists of testimony and is material to the action. Perjury in the first degree is a class D felony.
When someone makes two statements under oath that are inconsistent enough that one isn’t true, and the circumstances are such that every statement was made in the jurisdiction of New York and in the period of the statute of limitations for the crime, the inability of people to establish which statement is false doesn’t preclude a prosecution for perjury, and the prosecution can be carried out like this: the indictment can set forth the two statements and charge that one is false and perjurious. Also, the falsity of one or the other can be established by proof, or else a showing of their inconsistency. The actual highest degree of perjury that the defendant can be convicted of is determined by assuming both statements are false. If perjury of the same level would be established by making each statement, the defendant can be convicted of that degree at the most. If perjury of different degrees would be established by making the two statements, the defendant can be convicted of the lesser degree at most.
It’s important to note that it is considered an affirmative defense that the defendant retracted his false statement while in the proceeding, before the false statement affected the proceeding, and before it was clear that its falsity was exposed.
It can’t be used as defense of perjury that the defendant wasn’t competent to make the false statement, or the defendant mistakenly believed that false statement was immaterial, or the oath was taken in a strange way, or that the authority of the attesting officer was defective, if the defect was excusable under any statute of the law.
Now we get into making an apparently sworn false statement in the second degree. You’re guilty of this charge when you subscribe a written instrument knowing that it has a false statement and which you don’t believe is true, and when you intend that this instrument will be uttered with a jurat affixed to it. This crime is charged as a class A misdemeanor.
You’re guilty of this charge if you commit the preceding crime and the written instrument involved requires an oath, and the false statement is made to mislead a public servant, and the false statement is material to the action. This charge is a class E felony.
You’re guilty of making a punishable false written statement when you knowingly make a false statement which you don’t think is true in a written instrument that bears a legally authorized form notice to the effect that false statements are in fact punishable. This crime is considered a class A misdemeanor.
Now in any prosecution for perjury, falsity of a statement can’t be established by the uncorroborated testimony of one witness.
Perjury and false statements are serious crimes that undermine the credibility and functioning of our legal system. In this article, we’ll explore some of these offenses, together with their definitions, and provide insights into their consequences as laid down by the New York Penal Law.
Before diving into the offenses, let’s first build a foundation of understanding by looking at some essential definitions:
– Oath refers to affirmations and other legally authorized modes of attesting to the truth of a statement.
– To swear means stating something under oath.
– Testimony is an oral statement made under oath intended for a court, body, or other legally authorized entities that can conduct proceedings and administer oaths.
– An oath required by law is one that needs to be taken in connection with affidavits or other written instruments for them to be legally enforceable.
– A person can be said to swear falsely when they intentionally make a false statement they know is not true, either through testimony or under oath in a written instrument.
– An attesting officer is a notary public or another legally authorized individual responsible for administering oaths related to affidavits.
– A jurat is a clause in which an attesting officer certifies that the subscriber has appeared and sworn to the truth.
A person is guilty of perjury in the third degree if they swear falsely. As a Class A misdemeanor, the offense carries with it severe consequences.
Individuals may be charged with perjury in the second degree if they swear falsely in a written instrument that requires an oath by law. Furthermore, the crime involves an intent to mislead a public servant, and the falsely sworn statement must be material to the action. As a Class E felony, this crime carries even more significant negative consequences.
To be guilty of perjury in the first degree, a person must swear falsely while giving testimony. The false testimony must also be considered material to the action. Designated as a Class D felony, the offense holds severe punitive sanctions.
In cases where an individual makes two contradictory statements under oath, the legal system presumes that one of the statements is false. As long as each statement was made within the jurisdiction of New York, and within the period of the statute of limitations, the inconsistency is addressed in the following manner:
1. The indictment can indicate the two contradictory statements and charge that one of them is false and perjurious.
2. The defendant can be convicted of perjury to either the highest or the lesser degree, depending on the degree of perjury that would be established by making both statements.
Certain situations can be considered as defenses or non-defenses in perjury cases:
– A valid defense may be that the defendant retracted their false statement before it affected the proceeding or before its falsity was revealed.
– It is not a valid defense for a defendant to claim that they were not competent to make the false statement, that they mistakenly believed it was immaterial, that the oath was taken improperly, or that the authority of the attesting officer was defective.
In addition to perjury, the legal system also takes false statements and misleading documents seriously. Different degrees of these crimes carry separate consequences, ranging from Class A misdemeanors to Class E felonies.
One crucial aspect of prosecuting perjury and related offenses is the need for corroboration. In other words, the falsity of a statement cannot be established by the uncorroborated testimony of a single witness.
In conclusion, individuals should be mindful of the grave impact perjury and false statement offenses can have on our legal system. Recognizing the potential consequences of these actions can not only encourage honesty and transparency but also ensure the integrity of our legal proceedings.
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