Perjury, the act of lying under oath, falls into a category of offenses known as "crimes against justice." These types of crimes prevent the criminal justice system from performing in the way that it's supposed to. Other examples of crimes against justice are failure to report a crime and criminal contempt of court.
Conduct That's Considered Perjury in Virginia
While each jurisdiction has its own definition of perjury, it's generally defined as knowingly making a false statement -- which can be written or spoken -- while under oath. In addition to this general definition of perjury, Virginia has two additional statutes that fall under the "perjury" article in the Virginia Code:
In addition to being guilty of a felony for violating Virginia perjury laws, a person who's convicted of perjury is unable to serve on a jury or hold an "office of honor, profit, or trust under the Constitution of Virginia."
Virginia Perjury Laws at a Glance
When researching the law, it's imperative to read the literal language of the laws. It can also be helpful, however, to read a summary of the laws in plain English. In the following chart, you can find an overview of Virginia perjury laws, as well as links to relevant statutes.
||Virginia Code Section 18.2-434, et seq. (Perjury)
|Definition of Perjury
A person commits perjury if they do any of the following:
- While under oath, lies about any material matter;
- Falsely makes an oath that someone is 18 years or older in order to get a marriage license for that person; or
- Subscribes as true to any material fact in a written declaration, verification, certificate, or statement under penalty of perjury pursuant to Section 8.01-4.3 while not believing that it's true.
|Charges and Penalties
Violation of Virginia perjury laws is a Class 5 felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison. In the alternative - at the discretion of the jury or court - it's possible for a person to be punished for up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
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.
Virginia Perjury Laws: Related Resources
For additional information and resources related to this topic, please click on the links below.
Charged with Violating Virginia Perjury Laws? Get Legal Help
Perjury is treated as a serious crime in most jurisdictions, including Virginia. If you've been charged with perjury or any other crime in Virginia, it's a good idea to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer near you to discuss your case and find out about your options moving forward.