New York Penal Law § 210.45: Making a punishable false written statement

Perjury is the criminal offense of making a false statement under oath. While perjury often occurs during a criminal or civil trial when a witness lies while on the witness stand under oath, that is not the only scenario in which perjury can be committed. You can commit perjury based on make a false written statement. For example, lying in a signed affidavit or in a signed criminal complaint would also be perjury. There are several different perjury offenses in the New York criminal code. Perjury can be committed by private citizens as well as by government officials such as by a police officer. If you are suspected of make a false statement under oath, the specific perjury charge that you will face depends on circumstances under which the false statement was made. Under New York Penal Law § 210.45 you could be charged with making a punishable false written statement if you make a false statement under oath. This charge is commonly used when people sign false statements in a criminal complaint.

Examples

Defendant, Police Officer Michael Ackermann, was charged with several crimes, including making a punishable false written statement, based on statement that he made in a criminal complaint that he signed. The criminal complaint charged New York Times photographer, Robert Stolarik, with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and other related charges. In the criminal complaint against Stolarik, Ackermann stated that while he and three other officers were attempting to place a juvenile under arrest, Stolarik “approached him and repeatedly took pictures with a camera discharging a bright flash which temporarily impeded his sight and control over the juvenile.” Stolarik was arrested. Evidence later showed that Stolarik's camera did not have a built-in flash and that Stolarik did not have an external flash attachment when arrested. People v. Ackermann, 989 N.Y.S.2d 268 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 2014)

In another example, defendant Lisa Shutter was convicted of making a punishable false written statement based on making a false written complaint to the police that she was inappropriately touched by a police officer during a traffic stop. People v. Shutter, 2010 NY Slip Op 02881 (N.Y. App. Div. 4/8/2010)

Sara Lowin was convicted of making a punishable false statement after she had two vehicles that belonged to another person towed from her property. When asked by the police about the vehicles she said that she did not know what happened to them. A tow truck driver later told police that he had towed the vehicles at Lowin's request. People v. Lowin, 71 A.D.3d 1194 (N.Y. App. Div., 2010)

Related Offenses
  1. Making an apparently sworn false statement in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 210.35
  2. Making an apparently sworn false statement in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 210.40
Defenses

If you make a false statement because you made a mistake or because you remembered the facts inaccurately, you would not have made the false statements "knowingly." Thus, you would not have committed the crime of making a punishable false written statement.

Another defense to a charge of making a punishable false written statement is that the statement was actually true. If you can prove that the statement you made was in fact true, you would not be guilty of making a punishable false written statement.

Sentence

Making a punishable false written statement is a class A misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include up to year in jail, a probation term of 3 years, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 210.45: Making a punishable false written statement

A person is guilty of making a punishable false written statement when he knowingly makes a false statement, which he does not believe to be true, in a written instrument bearing a legally authorized form notice to the effect that false statements made therein are punishable.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though making a punishable false written statement is a misdemeanor and not a felony, if you are convicted you could still end up in jail. 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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