What Is The Law On Perjury Of Oath In Georgia And What Are The Punishments For It?
In the state of Georgia, the perjury of oath is a criminal offense committed if someone tells a lie under oath. This is regarded as a punishable offense because any lie, whether big or small, can have serious consequences for the entire court proceeding and outcome. Historically, perjury was limited to anyone who told a lie in court after taking an oath.
Today, the crime of perjury has been extended towards all legal proceedings. In case you make a sworn statement but to decide to fib a little or invent a complete fabrication, you may be charged with perjury.
If you are appearing in court to give testimony on behalf of the defense or prosecution, you will first be sworn in, i.e. asked to take an oath. This is read as, “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”. All three aspects of this oath are important. The mean:
- To not lie;
- To not leaving anything relevant to the case out;
- To not deceive or misinform anyone.
This is a standard that all witnesses must take in most types of cases, i.e. slip and fall claims, car accident claims and other personal injury cases. In these cases, an oath will be taken if only the case goes to court. In case the case is settled outside of court, most case witnesses need not be sworn in.
Courts treat every witness testimony provided under oath as ‘admissible in court’ or evidence. This is until there is clear evidence that leads the judge to believe the testimony is false.
There are severe penalties for committing perjury under oath in Georgia State.
If you provide a false declaration under oath, you’re subject to all the penalties associated with committing perjury. However, if you also confirm a statement that you know as false in a sworn-in affirmation or written affidavit, you will be charged with the crime of false swearing. For example, If you willingly sign any verifications in your divorce pleadings knowing full well that the information contained within is entirely untrue. You will be charged with perjury.
False Statement or Subornation of Perjury
This is another type of offense under the umbrella ‘perjury under oath’. In this offense, you’ve convinced another person to provide a false statement or commit perjury on your behalf. For instance, if a man attempts to convince his employee to provide a false alibi on his behalf and the employee goes on to make this false statement base on inducement by the man. The employer will be charged with perjury.
What Laws in Georgia Cover Perjury?
The following statues address Perjury under oath in Georgia State:
- Section Code 16-10-70 (Perjury)
- Section Code 16-10-71 (False swearing)
- Section Code 16-10-72 (Subornation of perjury or a false statement)
What are the Penalties for Committing Perjury Under Oath?
In a nutshell, if you’re convicted of committing perjury, you may face 1 to 10 years in prison with or without a fine of up to $1,000. If your perjury causes imprisonment for another person, then your imprisonment term will be the same as the person who was convicted due to your actions.
If your perjury leads to a sentence to death conviction for another person, you will face a life imprisonment term.
For false swearing, the person faces up to 5 years in prison with or without a maximum fine of $1,000.
False Statement/Subornation of Perjury
The person may face up to 10 years in prison with a fine of up to $1,000.