Giving testimony can be a frightening thing. Even under the best of circumstances, it can feel formal and intimidating. It feels even more so when the truth is something that we do not want to divulge.
However, lying under oath is perjury in Oklahoma. When we perjure ourselves, we ultimately get ourselves into deeper trouble. Here are some things that you might want to know about perjury in Oklahoma.
Perjury in Oklahoma Defined
In Oklahoma, perjury is defined as making a statement under oath, affirmation, or other legally binding assertion that you know or do not believe to be true to avoid or obstruct the truth. This can take place in a trial, hearing, deposition, certificate, affidavit, or declaration. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 491
The statement can be oral or written. If an attorney drafts an affidavit for you and you sign it under the penalty of perjury knowing that it contains a false statement, you have committed perjury.
In order to secure a conviction, a Tulsa County prosecutor must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The elements of perjury in Oklahoma are:
- making or subscribing
- a statement
- known or believed to be untrue
- or made with the intent to obstruct the truth
- under oath, affirmation, or legally binding assertion; and
- authorized or required by law in a trial, hearing, investigation, deposition, certification, or declaration.
Perjury can also occur when a person gives contradictory statements under oath in one or more trials, hearings, investigations, depositions, certifications, or declarations. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 496
Truth is a defense. If the statement is true, there is no perjury.
Opinions can also be protected. As long as you answer a question from your own knowledge or according to your opinion, it is not perjury.
If you are asked if you like tapioca pudding and you answer, “I don’t know,” you could perjure yourself if, in fact, you like tapioca pudding.
If you answer, “I don’t know” because you have never tried it, your answer would be truthful.
If you answer, “Maybe” because you have never tried it, your opinion is protected.
The important thing to know is that if you answer a question holding one opinion, but testifying to another, perjury exists and you could be prosecuted.
Perjury laws are in place to protect the judicial system. They are meant to protect the truth and thus, the judicial system itself.
Finally, this is a crime of intent. Your statement must either be known or believed by you to be untrue when made or you made the statement to avoid or obstruct the intent the determination of the truth. OUJI-CR 3-18
If you love tapioca, but answered “No” when asked if you like it, you perjured yourself.
Penalties for Perjury in Oklahoma
Perjury, when committed in a trial for a felony crime, is punishable from 2 to 20 years in prison.
If the perjury is committed in any other trial proceeding, you could be sentenced to 1 to 10 years in prison.
In all other cases, the penalty is up to 5 years in prison. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 500
Free Consultation: Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with a perjury in Oklahoma, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney. Criminal convictions can carry serious consequences.
Only a local attorney will know the court system and judges in the area. Do not delay. Our initial consultation is free.
Call Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 918-879-1681 or toll free at 1-888-Wirth-Law (1-888-947-8452). You can also submit the question form at the top right of this page.
We pride ourselves on providing our clients with excellent representation at reasonable prices.