Second-degree perjury is a crime that involves a person knowingly making a false statement while under oath. The offense is a serious felony under Washington law that can lead to custody in state prison for up to five years. If you or a loved one is facing charges of perjury in the second degree, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer now for help.
How Does Washington Law Define Second Degree Perjury?
There are two types of perjury under Washington law. These are perjury in the first degree and perjury in the second degree.
RCW 9A.72.030 is the statute that defines perjury in the second degree. According to this law, a prosecutor has to prove the following elements to successfully convict a defendant of second-degree perjury:
- The defendant made a false statement,
- The defendant knew the statement was false at the time he/she made it,
- The statement was “material,”
- The statement was made either with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his/her duty, or in an examination under oath under the terms of a contract of insurance, and
- The statement was made under an oath required or authorized by law.
A few definitions here are helpful:
- A “materially false statement” means any statement, oral or written, which could affect the course of the proceeding in which the statement was made, and
- An “oath” means a person giving a statement when he/she intends to tell the truth.
What are the Penalties?
Second-degree perjury is a Class C felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 5 years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Fortunately, people charged with this crime can challenge it with a legal defense. For example, an accused can contest a charge by showing that his/her statement was not “material,” or the party did not make the statement under oath.
In addition, a defendant can try and prove that the police violated one of his/her constitutional rights during the arrest. Maybe, for instance, the police arrested the accused without probable cause or failed to read the party his/her Miranda rights. In these instances, a judge may decide to reduce or dismiss a charge because of the violation.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a perjury charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced perjury attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on perjury charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these types of cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!