California Penal Code Section 118 PC – Perjury

California Penal Code Section 118 PC makes it a crime for a person to knowingly lie was he or she is under oath. Many people believe that perjury only applies to making a false statement while under oath in court, however, this code section applies to any situation where an individual lies while under oath, such as testimony in court, statements a person makes in a sworn affidavit, civil court proceeds, and even sworn statements made at the DMV. To convict an individual of perjury, the prosecution must show that an individual intentionally made a statement that he knows to be false.

Text of Penal Code 118 PC – Perjury Criminal Statute

According to California Penal Code Section 118 PC, “Every person who, having taken an oath that he or she will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly before any competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any of the cases in which the oath may by law of the State of California be administered, willfully and contrary to the oath, states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, and every person who testifies, declares, deposes, or certifies under penalty of perjury in any of the cases in which the testimony, declarations, depositions, or certification is permitted by law of the State of California under penalty of perjury and willfully states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, is guilty of perjury.”

If you have been charged with perjury, you should immediately contact an experienced perjury defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. If convicted of perjury an individual faces a maximum of four years in California State Prison. So, to avoid going to prison for a long period of time, you should contact a criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and mitigate the consequences that you face.

Proving an Individual Guilty of Committing Perjury

For the prosecution to convict an individual of committing perjury under penal code 118 PC, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of committing perjury.

  • The defendant took an oath or made a statement while under penalty of perjury
  • The defendant made a false statement
  • The defendant knew the statement was false at the time it was made
  • The information provided by the defendant was material to the matter at hand
  • The defense knew he was made the statement while he was under oath, and
  • The defendant had the intent to make a false statement

Penalties for Committing Perjury

If the prosecution convicts an individual of committing perjury in violation of Penal Code Section 118 PC, he faces the following potential consequences:

  • Conviction of a felony offense
  • Up to four years of imprisonment in California State Prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Felony probation

Note: These are some of the typical consequences, the court is free to impose additional punishments as it sees fit. Also, in some situations, an individual may be placed on formal felony probation instead of being sentence to prison time.

Defenses to Perjury Charges in California

  • The defendant did not make a false statement – Successfully arguing that the defendant did not make a false statement is the best defense that an attorney can make to defend you because the law requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant made a false statement, without a false statement, you cannot be convicted of perjury.
  • The defendant did not know the statement was false – Even if the defendant made a false statement, the prosecution must s
  • how that the defendant knew the statement was false, so, showing that the defendant did not know the statement is false may get the perjury charge against the defendant dismissed.
  • The statement made by the defendant was not material. That is, an attorney can argue that despite the fact that the defendant made a false statement and the defendant knew that the statement was false, he should not be convicted of perjury because the statement was not material within the context in which the statement was made.
  • The defendant was not under oath – An attorney may be able to argue that even though you told a lie and you intended to lie, you should not be convicted because your statement was not made under oath.

Examples of Committing Perjury

A man has been charged with a DUI and is asked to come to court. He is placed under oath. While he is under oath, he knowingly makes lies, claiming that he had not had anything to drink before getting behind the wheel, yet the prosecution has video evidence showing him that he was drinking with his friends prior to driving. The man can be charged with and convicted of perjury.

A woman goes to the DMV to apply for a driver’s license. On the driver’s license application, she is asked whether she has ever had her driver’s license suspended. She answers no even though she knows that she’s had her driver’s license suspended. At the end of the form, before she signs it, there is a paragraph stating that any statements made on the application are made under penalty of perjury. She can be charged with and convicted of lying under oath.

Offenses Related to Perjury

Here are some offenses that are related to perjury. In California, the prosecution may have charge you with these offenses in addition to perjury.

  • California Penal Code Section 470 PC
  • California Penal Code Section 115PC – Filing False or Forged Documents
  • California Penal Code Section 118.1 PC – Filing a False Police Report

Perjury Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved has been charged with perjury under California Penal Code Section 118 PC, you should immediately contact a perjury criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Our attorneys have handled numerous perjury cases, and have been able to achieve great results in most cases. They have the knowledge and experience to keep you from going to prison. At the outset of every case, one of our attorneys will look over the facts of your case to determine whether a dismissal is possible, if a dismissal is possible, they will communicate this to the prosecution. If the prosecution refuses to dismiss your case, we will do everything that we can to negotiate the best possible plea deal for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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