There are moments during criminal and civil proceedings where the parties, jury, or spectators believe the witness testifying is not being truthful. People often want the judge to address the untruthfulness during the trial. The judge cannot intervene at that juncture.
At best, when the jury considers the evidence, they may find for or against a party that is untruthful discrediting testimony because of the credibility of the witness. If the judge believes the person testifying has committed perjury, the case is referred to investigation by the police. A Michigan perjury lawyer can represent people who are believed to have lied during court testimony.
The person who lied during testimony is referred to for investigation from the trial judge. Only judges have the power to sanction a witness who commits perjury. A skilled Michigan defense lawyer can help someone to fight these charges.
The criminal justice system is based on the premise that every witness testifying during civil or criminal proceedings, is making their declaration truthfully. In fact, prior to given testimony, witnesses swear under oath that they will speak the truth.
However, testifying truthfully is subjective and based on one’s own perspective. If a person testifies truthfully but is wrong, it is not perjury, so long as the person believed the fact to be true. This witness has not perjured themselves. The evidence and judge’s recommendation are evaluated by the county or state prosecutor’s office and the witness is arrested and charged with perjury.
Not every case where a witness is believed to be lying is prosecuted. The costly and time-consuming nature of prosecuting criminal cases cannot include all instances of perjury. Cases that do go forward turn on the witness’s knowledge that the testimony that gave under oath was untruthful.
To prove perjury in Michigan, the prosecution must show that the witness intentionally gave testimony under oath that they knew was false at the time the testimony was given.
While the general rule is that a judge will find a person, who gives false testimony during a criminal or civil proceeding, to be guilty of perjury. The person is subject to enhanced penalties if the underlying case where the perjury occurred involved a major criminal offense.
Under the Michigan Penal Code, providing false testimony in a major crimes criminal proceeding will subject the witness to felony perjury conviction and a jail term up to 15 years.
Perjury in Michigan is considered a felony. The statute of limitations for felony cases is six years from the alleged untruthful testimony.
The key to perjury cases is to remember that if you are suspected of lying under oath by a judge while providing testimony, the judge will refer you to the police and district attorney’s office for investigation. Any subsequent arrest or charge for perjury happens next, after the underlying court proceeding is finalized.
If you have questions about the perjury laws in Michigan, are under investigation, or have been charged with perjury, contact a perjury attorney in Michigan to schedule a comprehensive case review.
A Michigan perjury lawyer helps clients evaluate your case, explore available defenses, and seek a prompt judicial resolution of the case. Schedule an appointment today with a Michigan perjury attorney to launch your legal defense.