You’re probably familiar with the term “perjury.” Surely, you’ve heard it discussed on television or in film. So, what does it mean exactly? When someone intentionally lies after swearing to tell the truth by a court clerk, notary public, or other such official, they are committing the crime of perjury.
While someone can commit perjury while on the stand, it doesn’t stop there. People can commit perjury in other settings as well, such as during a deposition, when signing a legal document (e.g. a tax return, affidavit, or declaration under penalty of perjury), or during an administrative hearing.
Perjury Under the Texas Penal Code
In the Lone Star State, perjury is covered under Sections 37.02 and 37.03 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 37.02, “A person commits an offense if, with intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statement’s meaning” makes a false statement under oath or a “false unsworn declaration” under Chapter 132 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
A person commits “aggravated perjury” under Sec. 37.03 if he or she makes a false statement under oath and the statement was made during an official proceeding and is material. Meaning, the statement affected the merits of the case.
Perjury under Sec. 37.02 is a Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 or up to one year in jail, or a fine and imprisonment. Aggravated perjury under Sec. 37.03 is a felony of the third degree, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison or by a fine not to exceed $10,000, or by a fine and imprisonment.
Are you being accused of committing perjury or aggravated perjury? If you’re being charged with aggravated perjury, you’re facing serious consequences if you’re found guilty. In either case, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to work with a top-rated defense team! We stand ready to fight for you.