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“Perjury” is a serious but often misunderstood criminal offense in Arizona. It can be deceptively easy for someone to perjure themselves and difficult to fight ensuing charges effectively. Understanding exactly what constitutes perjury under state law—as well as the related offense of false swearing or unsworn falsification—is vital to protecting your freedom and future prospects.
A Scottsdale perjury lawyer could be a steadfast ally throughout every stage of your case, from the initial investigation by law enforcement to the conclusion of your criminal trial. Once retained, the dedicated attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group will work to enforce your rights, build the strongest defense strategy for your unique case, and mitigate the consequences you face.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2702, a person commits the criminal offense of perjury if they knowingly make a false statement after taking an oath during a court proceeding or hearing to tell the truth. Alternatively, without verbally swearing any oath, perjury could involve a person knowingly making a false statement, declaration, or verification in writing that they represent as the truth.
False swearing is similarly defined under A.R.S. §13-2703 as someone making a false sworn statement that they believe to be false. A.R.S. §13-2704 addresses unsworn falsification of any material fact in an application for government licensing or benefits. A knowledgeable perjury attorney at our firm can further explain these charges.
In any of these scenarios, a false statement only qualifies as unlawful perjury if it is “material” to the case, hearing, or other government proceedings at hand. In this context, a statement is “material” if it is directly relevant to the proceedings and their conclusion. For instance, if an expert witness claims to have relevant qualifications that they do not have, this would be considered material to the case.
Subornation of perjury—or compelling someone else to perjure themselves for the acting party’s benefit—is also illegal in Arizona and may be prosecuted under these same statutes. A Scottsdale lawyer can further explain how specific perjury charges work during a confidential consultation.
Unsworn falsification is considered a class 1 misdemeanor offense in Arizona, which means the maximum sanctions possible upon conviction would be six months in jail plus a $2,500 fine. Perjury is a Class 4 felony with a sentencing range of one to 3.75 years in prison. False swearing, a Class 6 felony, is punishable by four to 24 months in prison depending on any mitigating or aggravating factors.
Furthermore, these sentencing ranges only apply to first-time offenders. Higher penalties may be levied against individuals with other felony convictions on their records. For example, someone convicted of perjury with one prior felony conviction would be subject to a sentencing range of 2.25 to 7.5 years of imprisonment. The applicable range for people with two or more past convictions would be six to 15 years. A dedicated lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can provide more specific information about the potential repercussions of a perjury charge in Scottsdale.
Law enforcement authorities and court officials take perjury extremely seriously in Arizona and at the federal level. Anyone accused of lying under oath should act quickly and proactively to retain knowledgeable legal counsel and construct a comprehensive defense.
Discussing your options with a Scottsdale perjury lawyer can offer much-needed clarity and direction in an uncertain situation. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today to schedule a meeting with our dedicated defense team.