As many people have discovered in the past few years due to shocking exposés in the media—police, prosecutors, and politicians lie. That news may not be all that shocking to those of us who are a part of the criminal justice system, or those who have been victimized by police and prosecutors, but the majority of people were not privy to the realities of the situation. New technology like body cameras have helped expose the untruthfulness of some police officers, and progressive politicians and lawyers who take up leadership roles in the criminal justice system have helped to expose some of the corruption that plagues our system. If you think you’ve been the victim of an unjust criminal justice system, consider speaking with a dedicated Clearwater criminal defense lawyer to help build your defense.
At the end of the day, the criminal justice system as a whole relies on truthfulness to function properly. We rely on the truthfulness of the police, who investigate cases and collect evidence used in the prosecution of defendants. We rely on the candor of witnesses who observe crimes occur and whose identification of suspects often leads to criminal charges. We rely on the honesty of judges who can take away the freedom of people convicted of criminal offenses. And we rely on the truthfulness of prosecutors who are required to present the truth to a jury to make a fair decision in each case.
Unfortunately, the reality is that—in any system that relies on human beings to do the right thing—we all too often end up with the opposite. Police sometimes fabricate evidence or lie in their reports out of laziness or in order to meet arrest quotas imposed by the higher ups in their departments. Witnesses can be biased against the person they accuse of a crime or can be unfairly influenced by prosecutors and police officers. Judges often spent their careers as prosecutors or defense attorneys, which can significantly effect their viewpoints and prevent them from acting as the neutral arbiters that they are required to be by law. And prosecutors sometimes withhold key pieces of evidence in order to “win” instead of seeking truth and justice.Elements of Perjury
Our criminal justice system claims to value truthfulness so much that it criminally punishes people who are suspected of lying. Unfortunately this value does not usually translate to the prosecution of corrupt judges, prosecutors and police, nor does it punish witnesses who are accused of lying resulting in criminal charges against innocent people. Instead, it most often punishes those who dare to stand up to the system and speak out publicly and in the courtroom. Florida statutes 837.012, 837.02 and 837.021 all punish lying under oath as perjury. There are several types of perjury that are all punished differently depending on the situation. If you have been charged with or investigated for perjury of any kind, you should immediately contact a skilled Clearwater criminal defense lawyer to act in your defense.
Perjury when not in an official proceeding is defined as making a false statement, which the defendant does not believe to be true, under oath, not in an official proceeding, in regard to any material matter. Anyone convicted of this offense is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Perjury in official proceedings is defined as making a false statement, which the defendant does not believe to be true, under oath during an official proceeding. Such an offense is a third degree felony and can be charged as a second degree felony if the perjury occurs during proceedings relating to a capital felony offense.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
If you are investigated for a criminal offense related to lying such as perjury or false report of a crime, you can contact our lawyers for a consultation today at 727.897.5413.