What is Perjury?

Wisconsin Criminal Law Blog

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Perjury is deliberately misleading officials while you’re under oath. 

The legal definition of perjury is:

“Whoever under oath or affirmation orally makes a false material statement which the person does not believe to be true, in any matter, cause, action or proceeding” before a

Perjury Examples

Any time that you purposely misrepresent the truth, exaggerate, lie or make misleading statements when you’re under oath, you’re committing perjury. Here are a few real-life examples of perjury:

  • ​You’re testifying on your own behalf in court and you tell the court that you were somewhere you weren’t – a fake alibi, so to speak.
  • You lie about what really happened in a criminal case while you’re making your official statement.

It’s not perjury if it’s an accident, though – the prosecutor in your case has to prove that you intended to mislead others. For example, if you say that you saw someone commit a crime and describe her as a blond with blue eyes and driving a black Toyota, but it turns out that she was a redhead with green eyes driving a black Honda, you’re unlikely to be charged with perjury unless you intended to mislead police and prevent them from looking for the real perpetrator.

 
What Are the Penalties for Perjury?

Because perjury is a Class H felony, the penalty is up to 3 years in prison with up to 3 years of extended supervision. You could also be fined up to $10,000.

What if You’re Accused of Perjury?

If you’re accused of perjury, it’s a good idea to get legal advice from a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free case review – we might be able to help you.

Carlos Gamino

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What is Perjury - Carlos Gamino
By Carlos Gamino

Perjury is a felony in Wisconsin, and sometimes people commit it without even realizing it’s a crime. But what is perjury, and what are the penalties if you’re caught?

For most people, it makes sense to discuss possible outcomes with a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who can help.

What is Perjury?
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