New York Penal Law § 210.15: Perjury in the first degree

Perjury involves purposely making false statements under oath. There are several different perjury offenses in the New York criminal code. The most serious of these charges is perjury in the first degree. Under New York Penal Law § 210.15 you could be charged with perjury in the first degree if you make a false statement under oath that consists of testimony that is material to the proceeding in which it is made. Under New York Penal Law § 210.00 the term oath refers to any method authorized by law to affirm the truth of a statement, and the term "testimony" refers to an oral statement made under oath in a proceeding before any court, body, agency, public servant or other person authorized by law to conduct such proceeding . This means that while perjury can be committed during a criminal or civil court proceeding, perjury can also be based on statements made during other circumstances such as during depositions and in affidavits.

Example

Michelle Weiss was in a contentious custody dispute with her former husband, Brian Jeker. Weiss accused Jeker of assaulting her. Two witnesses, Megan Schmid and Stephanie Murphy, supported Weiss' claim. Right before Jeker's trial Schmid and Murphy recanted their statements and claimed that Weiss offered them money to falsely report that Jeker assaulted Weiss. Later Weiss asked Murphy to sign a notarized statement that she witnessed Jeker assault Weiss. Weiss denied under oath asking Schmid and Murphy to make false statements in relation to Jeker. Weiss was charged with perjury in the first degree. People v. Weiss, 99 A.D.3d 1035 (N.Y. App. Div., 2012)

Related Offenses
  1. Making an apparently sworn false statement in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 210.40
  2. Making a punishable written false statement: New York Penal Law § 210.45
Defenses

You would not be guilty of perjury if you made a false statement, but then retracted it before it substantially affected the proceeding and before it became obvious that its falsity would be exposed.

Another defense would be that you made a mistake. In other words, if you made a statement under oath that you believed was true but was not in fact true, then you would not have committed perjury.

If the statement that you made was in fact the truth, then you did not commit perjury. The manner in which the question was asked or the manner in which you interpreted the question may have made it seem as if you lied when you did not. For example, during testimony in a criminal case you were asked if you sent a package to another person. If you prepared the package for shipping, but another person actually mailed it, then you did not lie when you said that you did not send the package.

Sentence

Perjury in the first degree is a class D felony. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a prison term of up to 7 years, a probation term of 5 years, and payment of a substantial fine. If your sentence includes probation, there will be many restrictions on your life including the requirement that you report to your probation officer on the regularly basis.

New York Penal Law § 210.15: Perjury in the first degree

A person is guilty of perjury in the first degree when he swears falsely and when his false statement (a) consists of testimony, and (b) is material to the action, proceeding or matter in which it is made.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or someone you know has been charged with perjury in the first degree, it is critical that you contact an experienced attorney right away. Perjury in the first degree is a serious crime. The penalty for a perjury conviction is that you could be sent to prison for up to 7 years and you could be required to pay a substantial fine. In addition, you will end up with a permanent criminal record that will result in making some aspects of your life more challenging. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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