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Perjury in Illinois

August 17th, 2015 at 8:41 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Ililnois defense lawyer, Illinois crminal attorney, When a person is facing criminal charges, the temptation and incentive to lie can be overwhelming. Very few people want to go to prison or want to be on probation, so many people try their hardest to talk their way out of trouble. Sometimes that talking involves lying. That lying, depending on the circumstances, can result in serious criminal charges, including perjury charges.

What Is Perjury?

If you have been involved in a trial or ever seen a court show on television, you have seen the process of swearing in, during which the witness is asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” The witness always responds with “I do,” or “yes,” or some other affirmative answer. With the possible exception of some witnesses who are asserting their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, witnesses rarely respond “No.” Yet, some witnesses lie. When a witness swears to tell the truth and then fails to do so, the question becomes whether he or she has committed the very serious offense of perjury.

Under Illinois law, a person commits perjury when he or she, while under oath or affirmation in a proceeding where this is required, makes a false statement that is material to the issue or point in question and he or she knows the statement is false. The important thing to remember is that in order for the statement to be perjury, the person making it must know that the statement is false. Imagine, then, a case that relies on an eyewitness identification. If the eyewitness identifies the wrong person as the person who committed the crime, but he or she believes she has the right person, he or she is not committing perjury. But if he or she knows he or she has the wrong person but makes the identification anyway, then he or she is committing perjury. Perjury is a class 3 felony.

Sometimes people have questions about oaths versus affirmations. Some people’s religious or personal beliefs prevent them from swearing oaths. When these people have to testify they are given the option of affirming that what they are saying is true, and that they understand that they can be charged with the crime of perjury if they do not tell the truth. An affirmation is like an oath without the potentially religious connotations.

Call Christopher M. Cosley

If you are accused of or being investigated for a crime in Rolling Meadows, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. You should contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We pride ourselves on providing full-service representation that is specific to your goals and the details of your case. We will fight for you.

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