Lying is not typically a crime. However, providing a false statement on an official document, lying under oath, or lying to law enforcement officers can be considered perjury. It is not just in the courtroom that a person can be charged with perjury. Depositions taken under oath in civil court matters or statements to an investigator are also subject to perjury. Before you make a sworn statement, take a moment to learn more about Illinois perjury laws.
Elements of Perjury
Not every false statement is a crime. There are specific conditions that must be met for a false statement to be considered perjury, as opposed to a statement made in confusion or from a different perspective. The crime of perjury requires proof that the person did the following:
- Made a false statement;
- Knew the statement is false;
- False statement was material to the issue or point in question;
- The statement was made under oath or affirmation, in a proceeding or in any other matter where by law the oath or affirmation is required.
Defenses Against a Perjury Conviction
A charge of perjury has several available defenses. First, when a contradictory statement is made during the same continuous trial -- as long as the offender admits to the falsity of the contradictory statement -- those making the statement will be protected from prosecution. Other defenses to perjury include:
- Belief that the sworn statement was true
- Genuine impairment of memory
Effect of A Perjury Conviction
In addition to fines and a prison sentence, a conviction for perjury has other lasting effects. Perjury is considered a crime of moral turpitude and you could lose or be denied professional licensure, such as in the legal profession, law enforcement, and some public service occupations. You could also be disqualified from security clearances. A non-citizen convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is generally ineligible for relief from deportation and is frequently barred from reentering the U.S.
Convincing Someone Else to Commit Perjury
Your neighbor is called to testify about a wild party you had at your house. You promise to mow your neighbor's yard for a year if he testifies he wasn't home that night, even though he really was. If your neighbor makes this false statement, you can be prosecuted for the crime of subordination to perjury. This law makes it a class 4 felony to persuade another person to make a false statement in violation of the state's perjury law.
Overview of Illinois Perjury Laws
The following chart highlights important aspects of Illinois perjury laws.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Illinois Perjury Laws: Related Resources
Looking for additional information on perjury laws in Illinois? The following links are a great starting point:
Questions About Illinois Perjury Laws? Get Legal Help Today
Perjury charges can result from what you thought were clear statements made in a straightforward manner. If you have knowingly perjured yourself, have been accused of perjury, or have questions regarding testimony, then you should consider reaching out to an experienced Illinois defense attorney to learn more about your rights and protections under the law.