Be Honest or Be Guilty
Video Transcript: What is perjury? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a lawyer in Tulsa with Wirth Law Office, and today we’re going to talk about perjury.
It’s a word that you hear get thrown around a lot, but what is actually the legal definition in Oklahoma of perjury?
Perjury is the crime of deliberately lying under oath. Now, that can be in the form of in-person testimony in an open court hearing, or it can be in the form of something that you sign under oath and file with the court.
So for example, arguably if you make an assertion of fact and you know it’s false and you represent it as true to a court and sign the pleading, then that is perjury. Because when you sign a pleading and file it, you’re making a statement under oath to the court. Now, here’s the key thing to know about perjury. It’s not perjury if you’re mistaken.
If you assert something to be a fact, believing in good faith that is true, and it turns out not to be true, that’s not perjury. Now, it could cause you some other problems in court because it could affect your credibility, but it isn’t perjury legally speaking.
It’s also, if it’s an opinion, even if it’s a really dumbass opinion, opinions aren’t facts, and that’s not perjury either. For it to be a perjury, you would have to knowingly, falsely assert a fact in court and with the idea that the court’s going to rely on it. You could almost think of it like a species of fraud. That’s what perjury is. Making a mistake isn’t perjury. Asserting an opinion isn’t perjury.
Knowingly misleading the court about facts, that is perjury if you’re under oath. And if you have any questions about that, you should go to makelaweasy.com to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma and we’ll help you out.