Perjury in Florida

If accused of Perjury, you need to know the:

Definition of Perjury

Under Chapter 837 of the Florida Statutes, the crime of Perjury is committed when a person:

  1. Appears before a person authorized to administer oaths or affirmations;
  2. Makes an oath, by swearing or affirming to speak the truth;
  3. And, while under oath, makes a false statement regarding a material matter;
  4. That the person did not believe was true when it was made.

Nature of Proceedings

As indicated below, the penalties for perjury differ depending on whether the perjurious statement was made in an Unofficial Proceeding, an Official Proceeding, or an Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding.

An “Official proceeding” means a proceeding heard before any legislative, judicial, administrative, or other governmental agency or official authorized to take evidence under oath.

This definition includes proceedings before any referee, magistrate, administrative law judge, hearing officer, hearing examiner, commissioner, notary, or other person taking testimony or a deposition in connection with an official proceeding.

Penalties for Perjury

The penalties for Perjury differ depending on whether the perjurious statement was made in an Unofficial Proceeding, an Official Proceeding, or an Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding.

Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding

The crime of Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding is classified as a First Degree Misdemeanor in Florida.

If convicted of Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

Perjury in Official Proceeding

Perjury in Official Proceeding is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Perjury in Official Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Perjury in Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding

Perjury in Official Proceeding is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Perjury in Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 34½ months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Defenses to Perjury

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Perjury are:

  1. Materiality
  2. Recantation

Materiality

Technically, under Florida law, materiality is not a defense, but an issue that must be decided by a judge as a matter of law.

However, if it can be shown that the false statement did not relate to a material matter in the proceeding, the charge of perjury would be dismissed.

Recantation

It is a defense to the crime of Perjury if the person making the false statement admits such statement to be false in the same continuous proceeding or matter and

  1. The false statement has not substantially affected the proceeding; or
  2. Such admission is made before it has become manifest that such false statement has been or will be exposed.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Perjury in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.