What Is Perjury?

If you watch legal dramas on TV or if you pay attention to the news, you may have heard about someone committing perjury. If you aren’t familiar with legal terminology, you may not know for certain what that means, and you have definitely never used legal practice management software. What exactly is perjury? What does it mean when someone perjures themselves?

In essence, perjury is the act of lying under oath. When someone is sworn in during a legal proceeding, they agree to tell the truth. A good example of this is when someone testifies in court. Before they take the stand, they swear to tell the truth while they are giving their testimony.

If they get up on the stand and start lying after being sworn in, they have perjured themselves. Perjury is a criminal act. That means that anyone who commits perjury can be charged with a crime. The penalties for this crime can vary.

At the federal level, it is considered a felony. That means that anyone who is convicted of committing perjury in federal court or when speaking to someone who works for the federal government after being sworn in will have a felony on their record.

At the state level, it is a little bit more complicated. Some states consider perjury to be a felony, whereas others classify it as a misdemeanor. The legal implications of perjury vary based on the laws of each individual state.

One important thing to note is that the person committing perjury has to have known that they were providing false information when they told the lie. For instance, if someone testifies about something that they believe to be true but that is later proven false, they most likely cannot be charged with perjury. On the other hand, if they testify about something that they know is false, they can be found guilty.

Hopefully, that gives you a better idea of what perjury is. At the most basic level, it is a criminal act that is committed whenever anyone purposely tells a lie under oath.

Please watch the video below to learn more about perjury: