People tell lies all the time. Some tell white lies to make others feel better and others tell malicious lies to make others feel bad. However, if there is one place to never tell a lie of any kind, it is on the stand in court where you are bound by oath to tell the truth. Yet, taking this oath isn’t a guarantee that someone will tell the truth of the situation. In fact, anyone could take the stand and tell bold faced lies about you, something that when done in a criminal trial could result in a guilty verdict. This situation is referred to as perjury, and if someone is caught doing it, they will face criminal charges for it.
If you know that someone on the stand in your trial is telling a lie and thus perjuring themselves, you never want to accept it. However, fighting it through an outburst in court is not the way to go either. When you know someone is telling a lie on the stand, your first step should be to tell your lawyer and inform them of the truth of the situation.
HOW TO DEAL WITH PERJURY DURING A CRIMINAL CASE
If some takes the stand against you and lies under oath, they can face criminal punishments and their testimony will become invalid in your case. However, what makes perjury so difficult is that it is often a challenge to prove false. Take, for example, someone saying that you threw the first punch in an assault case. Testimony that you instigated the violence would be a fairly strong piece of evidence in the trial compared to if the other person swung first and you were defending yourself. If they were the sole witness to that fight, their testimony becomes a strong piece of evidence against you.
However, if their statement is a lie, you need some way to prove that. Perhaps a security camera caught the whole fight on video and can prove that witness was lying. Suddenly, they can be charged with perjury and your defense against the assault charges becomes stronger. The issue is that many people aren’t so lucky. There aren’t cameras everywhere and often crimes happen with limited witnesses. You cannot just simply state someone was lying without the evidence to prove it false.
WHEN PERJURY RESULTS IN CONVICTION
If someone’s lie on the stand has already resulted in your conviction, you shouldn’t just accept it either. What you are suffering is the very definition of a wrongful conviction and action can be taken. If someone perjured themselves to get you convicted, that should be the center of your appeal process. You should continue to find evidence to prove that perjury occurred. If you can prove perjury caused your conviction, then it is likely that the conviction will be overturned.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that if you could not prove the lie during your criminal trial, it will be no less difficult during an appeal unless new evidence of the lie has turned up. Although, if you have been convicted, it may be better to bring in a fresh set of eyes from a new criminal attorney who can make sure that your previous lawyer explored every possible avenue.
If you have committed a crime and are concerned that a potential witness will intentionally perjury themselves against you in order to punish you, contact us today to see how we can help you. Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC is dedicated to criminal defense and working tirelessly for you so you don’t have to suffer unfair punishments for a mistake or even for someone’s lie.