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California Perjury Law

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While California law treats perjury cases very seriously, a few perjury cases are completely straightforward. Not only is it difficult for the prosecutor to prove perjury, but people often get wrongly accused.

At Appel & Morse, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys have a combined 40 years of experience helping those accused of white collar crimes, including perjury. We can thoroughly review your case and determine all of the possible legal options available to you in order to either get the entire case dismissed or your charges reduced.

Proving Perjury in California

The legal definition of perjury is broken down into the following four elements which the prosecution needs to prove:

  • You made a purposeful or willful statement.
  • You knew the statement was false.
  • You were under oath to tell the truth at the time you made the statement.
  • The statement was (or related to) a “material” fact, meaning that it was used to affect the outcome of the proceeding in which it was made or had the probability of influencing the outcome of the proceeding for which it was made.

You can be convicted for perjury if you willfully provide false information in any of the following circumstances:

  • When testifying in court
  • When being deposed
  • In a signed declaration
  • In a signed affidavit
  • In a signed certificate
  • In a DL 44 driver’s license application at the DMV

Perjury is considered a felony. The judge has the discretion to sentence someone guilty of perjury to either a maximum prison sentence of four years or a felony probation sentence with up to one year in county jail.

Ready to Build Your Defense Strategy Today

If, at the time you made your statement, you honestly or justifiably believed it to be the facts, then you did not commit perjury, despite the statement being false. This is because you wouldn’t be “willfully” making a false statement, which is one of the most important elements of a perjury case. Do not risk facing these serious charges without experienced legal assistance from our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys today.

Contact us and schedule a free criminal consultation today.

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At Appel & Morse, we work to ensure our clients understand what is happening with their cases and how to best defend their interests. Our mission is to obtain the best results based on a true understanding of each client's unique circumstances.