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The Law on Perjury in Indiana

The laws on perjury in Indiana make it clear that providing false statements under oath is a serious criminal offense. In fact, a person convicted of such a crime could face up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Given this, it’s critical that any person compelled to provide a statement under oath or affirmation first speak with an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney. This will ensure that they have received proper legal guidance prior to making the statement and understand what information they are legally obliged to provide.  

If you’re under investigation or have been called to provide testimony in a criminal case, the criminal defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to consult with you prior to making any statements under oath or affirmation. We understand that facing legal scrutiny can be both stressful and intimidating, and are here to ensure that your rights are protected throughout this process and that you are not intimidated into saying anything that may be detrimental to your case or your future.  

To schedule your free, confidential case consultation with a member of our team, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form today.

Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Indiana? Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP Today.

Indiana Code on Perjury 

As outlined in Indiana Code 35-44.1-2-1, a person may be charged with perjury as a Level 6 felony when they (a) make a false, material statement under oath or affirmation, knowing the statement to be false or not believing it to be true; or (b) has knowingly made two or more material statements, in a proceeding before a court or grand jury, which are inconsistent to the degree that one of them is necessarily false.  

In situations involving two or more material statements, the indictment or information need no specific which statement is actually false. In addition, the falsity of a statement may be established sufficiently for conviction by proof that the defendant made irreconcilably contradictory statements which are material to the point in question.  

In other words, proving that the accused made statements that fundamentally contradict each other, and that these contradictions pertain significantly to the case, can be enough to convict for falsification. This underscores the principle that the integrity of the information is critical, and discrepancies that undermine this integrity can lead to legal consequences. 

What is the Penalty for Perjury in Indiana? 

Perjury in Indiana is considered a Level 6 felony offense. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction of this level carries penalties as serious as up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.  

On top of that, a person convicted of perjury would also have the added burden of a felony offense on their criminal record, which can follow them for years to come. Many individuals with a criminal past experience difficulty obtaining employment, financial assistance, and adequate housing.  

In addition, those convicted of a felony offense are stripped of critical civil rights, such as the right to own and carry a firearm. These rights, which are incredibly important and valuable to many Hoosiers, cannot be restored without petitioning for and being granted a felony expungement in Indiana

What Rights Do Hoosiers Have Under Oath? 

In order to avoid committing perjury in Indiana, it’s important that all Hoosiers understand their rights and obligations when compelled to provide statements under oath or affirmation. This will better ensure that their individual freedoms are being protected and that, more broadly, the integrity of the judicial process is being upheld.  

Right to Counsel: The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides citizens with the right to legal counsel in federal prosecutions; and following the ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, this right extends to state prosecutions for felony offenses and most misdemeanor offenses. 

Right Against Self-Incrimination: The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides criminal defendants with the right against self-incrimination. This means that they do not have to testify if they may incriminate themselves when providing testimony. This protection is the origin behind the common phrase, “I plead the fifth.”  

Right to be Informed: Under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution a person has the right to be ” informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,” and “adequate notice of the charges against [them].” When it comes to perjury in Indiana, this means that the prosecution must identify the topic of investigation to the witness. 

Indiana Code on Witness Immunity 

In addition to the rights granted to citizens under the United States Constitution, Indiana law also addresses the topic of witness statements in Indiana Code 35-37-3. Under this chapter, when a court finds that a witness may properly refuse to answer a question or produce an item, on the basis of their right against self-incrimination, the prosecution may request that the court grant “use immunity” to the witness. Per Indiana Code 35-37-3-3, when a witness is granted use immunity, any evidence that the witness gives, or evidence derived from that evidence, may not be used in any criminal proceeding against that witness.  

That said, there are some caveats to use immunity in Indiana. First, use immunity does not apply to evidence volunteered by the witness, only compelled evidence. Second, evidence provided under use immunity CAN be used against the witness in the prosecution of perjury in Indiana. Third, if a witness has been granted use immunity, but still refuses to provide evidence, the court may find them in contempt. 

Concerned about Committing Perjury in Indiana?  

Navigating the perjury laws in Indiana demands a thorough understanding of both the state’s statutory provisions and the broader principles underpinning the justice system. As we’ve explored, Indiana’s approach to perjury reflects a commitment to integrity within the legal process, emphasizing the critical importance of truthful statements in upholding the law and ensuring fair outcomes. 

For Indiana criminal defense lawyers, a deep grasp of these laws is not just a matter of legal acumen but a fundamental aspect of advocating effectively for their clients. Whether advising clients on the ramifications of their testimony or strategizing defenses in cases where allegations of perjury arise, the nuances of Indiana’s perjury statutes play a pivotal role. 

So, whether you’ve been arrested, are under investigation, or have been called as a witness in a criminal proceeding, the defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are here to represent you. When you choose to work with our Indianapolis criminal defense law firm, you can rest assured that your attorney will do everything in their power to safeguard the integrity of legal process and protect both your rights and your freedoms.  

To speak with an Indianapolis defense attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Summary
The Law on Perjury in Indiana
Article Name
The Law on Perjury in Indiana
Description
This article provides an overview of the law on perjury in Indiana
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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