Section 210 of the New York Penal Code defines perjury as the act of making a deliberately false statement either while:

  • providing testimony in an official proceeding or
  • filling out a subscribed written instrument under oath, such as a deposition or affidavit

The seriousness of a perjury offense in New York depends on certain factors such as how material the perjured statement is to the matter involved, the setting where the perjured information was provided, and whether the statement was made under oath.

The basic offense is Perjury in the Third Degree, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of one year in jail. The next step up is Perjury in the Second Degree, which has the same definition as the Third Degree but with three more stipulations:

  • The perjured statement was made in writing in a setting where an oath was required to make it legally valid, such as an affidavit and deposition; and
  • It was given with the intention of misleading a public servant; and
  • The perjured statement was important to the outcome of the situation in question

Perjury in the Second Degree is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

A person is guilty of Perjury in the First Degree when an individual knowingly provides false information in the form of testimony and the statement was critical to the outcome of the situation. It is a Class D felony that can lead to up to seven years imprisonment.

A closely related charge is Making a Punishable False Written Statement. It is used to deter people from intentionally providing false crime reports. Many criminal complaint and deposition forms include a warning that states, “False statements made herein are punishable as a Class A misdemeanor pursuant to PL Section 210.45.”

If you have been charged with perjury or believe that you are about to be, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Even though perjury is not a violent crime, the authorities do not hesitate to prosecute offenders because false statements and testimony have the potential to cause a miscarriage of justice. If you commit perjury in a federal matter, then you could be found guilty of a felony and sent to prison for up to five years.

A conviction for perjury can have serious and far-reaching consequences for all aspects of your future: you could go to prison, be forced to pay a substantial fine, and be prevented from applying for certain certifications and licenses. Your attorney will review your case for potential defenses like the following:

  • You did not knowingly make a false statement
  • You gave the false statement under duress
  • The statement was not false
  • You were not under oath when you made the false statement

Working with a New York criminal defense attorney improves your chances for a positive resolution, so when you are facing a perjury charge, expert advice is always your best bet. Julie Rendelman is a highly experienced New York City criminal defense lawyer. She has more than 20 years of legal experience and offers free consultations to potential clients. Call 212-951-1232 to set up your consultation if you have been accused of a crime or are concerned that you may be accused of committing a crime.