Perjury California | California PC 118

There are not many instances where merely telling a lie can be considered a crime and punished by jail time. Perjury, however, is another matter. Perjury is considered a crime throughout the State of California due to the fact that its mere commission can deprive an innocent person of their freedom.

The State of California sets forth the rules regarding what constitutes perjury and the penalties associated with it, but the individual counties set the bail associated with the crime and enforce the sentence. One thing is for sure: anyone charged with perjury will need a very good lawyer to escape serious penalties.

What Constitutes Perjury

California Penal Codes 118 through 129 set forth what constitutes perjury and the possible penalties. The basic definition of perjury is when a person knowingly gives false information after they have been sworn in under oath. This does not mean, however, that a person cannot be guilty of perjury outside of a courtroom.

A person can actually be charged with perjury if they give false information while testifying in a court of law, or while giving a deposition. Perjury also applies to giving false information on certain documents such as signed affidavits, signed declarations and signed certificates. A person can even be prosecuted under perjury laws if they give false information on a driver’s license application filed at the Department of Motor Vehicles! It is also considered perjury if a person entices another to commit the crime.

Bail Amounts

Since counties handle their own bail amounts by way of their bail schedules, a person accused of perjury will have a different bail depending on the county in which they are arrested. Each county’s bail schedule lists crimes and their preset bail amounts; contact the nearest Bail Hotline office, and an agent will arrange to post your bond at a fraction of the face bail amount to secure your release.

Even though each county sets its own bail amount for perjury, the numbers don’t vary much between the counties. Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Santa Clara Counties all set the bail for perjury and subordination of perjury at twenty-five thousand dollars. Monterey County sets its bail amount slightly lower, at twenty thousand dollars, but it sets the bail amount for subordination of perjury at $30,000. Monterey County even has a section devoted to police officers who file false police reports, also considered perjury, as either five or ten thousand dollars, depending on whether it’s charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Penalties and Consequences

Perjury is punished by several different penalties, depending on the facts of a case. An officer who files a false police report will face a year in jail if charged with a misdemeanor, but they will receive between two and four years in prison if charged with a felony. Other instances of perjury are always considered felonies; this means a person convicted will face between 2-4 years in prison. A person who commits perjury, and through that action causes the execution of an innocent person, will face either life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Perjury is considered a very serious crime. It is one of the few crimes whose penalties can range from one year in jail to capital punishment! Because of this large discrepancy, it is vital for anyone accused of perjury to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Securing release through a bail bond agency will ensure a person has plenty of time to prepare their case. There are legitimate defenses for a perjury charge, but it usually requires a skilled attorney to convince the jury.

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