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Minnesota Perjury Laws

If a party lies under oath or makes a false statement, they have committed the criminal offense of perjury. Anyone that must rely on the testimony of another person in a criminal or civil case realizes how important it is for the individual to tell the truth under these circumstances. Otherwise, the judicial system loses credibility and can't function the way it was intended. That's one of the reasons why perjury is considered a crime against justice and taken so seriously.

A Summary of Minnesota Perjury Laws

When conducting legal research, you should make sure that you comprehend all the information in the statutes. Since statutes are often lengthy and written in legalese, it's helpful to read a plain language version of the content. The chart below is an example of this: a short summary of Minnesota's perjury laws.

Statutes

  • Minnesota Statutes Section 609.48 (perjury)
  • Minnesota Statutes Section 358.115 (court and filing fees; attestations)
  • Minnesota Statutes Section 358.116 (court and filing fees; attestations)

 

Elements of the Crime

 

Perjury: Anyone who makes a false statement not believing it to be true in any of the following cases is guilty of perjury:

  • In or for an action, hearing or proceeding of any kind in which the statement is required or authorized by law to be made under oath or affirmation;
  • In any writing which is required or authorized by law to be under oath or affirmation;
  • In any declaration signed under penalty of perjury.

Inconsistent Statements: When the declarant has made two inconsistent statements under circumstances where one or the other must be false (and not believed by the declarant), it's sufficient proof for a perjury conviction without determining which statement was false.

Possible Penalties and Sentencing

If the false statement was made in relation to a trial of a felony charge or upon an application for an explosives license or use permit, perjury is punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment, fines up to $14,000, or both. All other cases of perjury are punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, fines up to $10,000, or both.

Defenses

Possible Defenses:

  • Mistake
  • Defendant believed the truth of the statement.
  • The statement was not false.

Defenses That Cannot Be Used:

  • Oath was taken or administered in an irregular manner
  • The declarant wasn't competent to give statement; or
  • The declarant didn't know that the statement was material or believed it to be immaterial; or
  • The statement wasn't used or if it was used, it didn't affect the proceeding; or
  • The statement was inadmissible under the law of evidence.

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.

Minnesota Perjury Laws: Related Resources

Learn the Truth about Perjury Law from a Minnesota Attorney

Violating Minnesota's perjury laws shouldn't be taken lightly. A conviction can result in serious jail time. If you or someone you know needs information about available defenses or strategies talk to a criminal defense attorney near you, right away.

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