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Clearwater Attorneys Describe How to Fight Perjury Allegations in Florida


Fighting Perjury Allegations in Florida

Being accused of perjury can be scary. It’s a serious felony charge that carries heavy penalties if convicted. But just because someone alleges you lied under oath doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be found guilty. There are defenses and strategies Florida criminal defense attorneys use to fight perjury charges and get charges reduced or dismissed.

What is Perjury in Florida?

Perjury refers to the crime of intentionally lying while under oath in an official proceeding. In Florida, perjury is a third-degree felony under Section 837.02 of the criminal code. It’s punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

To prove perjury, prosecutors must show:

  • You made a false statement
  • You knew the statement was false when you made it
  • The false statement was about a material issue in the case
  • You made the statement under oath in an official proceeding

An “official proceeding” includes court hearings, depositions, government investigations, and other proceedings where testimony is taken under oath. The alleged perjured statement must relate to an important issue in the case, not just an insignificant detail.

Common Defenses Against Perjury Charges

There are several defenses Florida criminal defense lawyers commonly use to fight perjury allegations, including:

Lack of Intent

For perjury, prosecutors must prove you intentionally lied. If you made an honest mistake or there’s reasonable doubt about your intent, perjury can’t be proven. For example, you may have forgotten details, been confused, or misspoken.

Statement Wasn’t False

If your statement was literally true or a matter of opinion, it doesn’t qualify as perjury. There may be a lack of evidence proving your statement false beyond a reasonable doubt.

Statement Wasn’t Material

The alleged false statement must have been important to the case, not some trivial detail. If the statement wasn’t material, perjury can’t be proven.

No Oath

You can’t commit perjury without being under oath. For example, lying to police during questioning isn’t perjury. But lying in a deposition after being sworn in could be.


If you correct a false statement in the same proceeding, that can negate perjury. But recanting false testimony in a later proceeding may not.

Strategies for Fighting Perjury Charges

An experienced Florida perjury defense attorney will carefully examine the evidence and circumstances of your case. Here are some strategies they may use:

File a motion to dismiss

If there are clear legal defects in the perjury charge, your lawyer can file a motion to dismiss before trial. For example, they may argue there was no false statement made, no evidence of intent, the statement wasn’t under oath, etc. Getting charges dismissed avoids trial.

Suppress statements

If police questioned you improperly or violated your rights, your lawyer can seek to suppress incriminating statements. This weakens the prosecution’s case.

Challenge inconsistent testimony

Your attorney can scrutinize testimony for inconsistencies that create reasonable doubt about alleged false statements.

Present evidence of innocence

Your lawyer may obtain records, documents, expert testimony, or other evidence proving your statements weren’t false.

Negotiate plea bargains

Rather than risk trial, your attorney may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to get charges reduced or even dismissed by pleading to a lesser offense.

Consult a Perjury Defense Attorney

Don’t wait to seek experienced legal counsel if you’ve been accused of perjury in Florida. A knowledgeable perjury defense lawyer can thoroughly assess your case and advise you of all your rights and options. With an aggressive defense, many perjury charges can be successfully challenged and defeated.


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