Jodi Arias has spent two weeks on the witness stand, being charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Alexander had been shot in the head, stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times and had his throat slit. Arias says it was self-defense when he attacked her after a day of raunchy sex, but police say she planned it in a jealous rage. Arias has been answering detailed questions from attorneys about practically every aspect of her life including the day she killed her lover and the painstaking steps she took to cover her tracks.
Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with Alexander’s death then blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense. Her repeated lies to authorities, friends and family in the days after his death, and her methodical efforts to create an alibi and avoid suspicion have been center stage throughout the weeks-long trial as she explained how she remembers little from the day of the killing.
When a person is accused of a violent crime, many times, the first thing they is either deny committing the crime, admit to the crime but claim self-defense, or claim an alibi, or explanation of impossibility due to them either being somewhere else at the time. The giving of a false alibi may result in possible subsequent criminal offenses such as perjury and obstruction of justice, but may also result in negative ramifications for the trial itself, even a mistrial.
In order to be properly convicted of perjury in Jacksonville, the State must prove one:
– Appeared before a person authorized to administer oaths or affirmations;
– Makes an oath, by swearing or affirming to speak the truth;
– And, while under oath, makes a false statement regarding a material matter;
– That the person did not believe was true when it was made.
The different perjury penalties that one may be exposed to will depend on the location and nature of where the perjurious statement was made, either in an Unofficial Proceeding, an Official Proceeding, or an Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding.
If one is convicted of Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding, a first degree misdemeanor, one will be exposed to up to one year in jail, probation, and expensive fines. If one is convicted of Perjury in Official Proceeding, a third degree felony, the penalties one are exposed to are even more severe, including up to a five year prison and/or probation sentence and $5000 in fines.
If one is convicted of Perjury in Official Capital Prosecution Proceeding, as Arias might possibly be charged, should the prosecution decide, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 34½ months in prison and also has the discretion to extend one’s sentence to the normal second degree felony penalties, including fifteen years in prison, probation, and $10,000 in fines.
Perjury charges can be complicated, and can be hard to understand at times, particularly when one may not have intended to perjure oneself. If one has been charged with a perjury related offense, one should not delay in obtaining an experienced Jacksonville perjury crimes defense attorney to fight the case. There are many defenses available to this rather unfortunate crime.
If one recants one’s false statement, by admitting the statement to be false as soon as possible, before it would have been exposed as false, and has not substantially affected the proceeding, one will have a defense to any prosecution for perjury or false statement.
In some special cases, more than one person will be involved in a crime, and in exchange for prosecutorial immunity, one of the guilty parties will testify against the other. Sometimes though, the person to testify has lied in a previous hearing. If one has been given this prosecutorial immunity, one is required to tell the truth under oath in order to keep the immunity. Therefore, a person may not be properly prosecuted for perjury for making a contradictory statement in the most recent proceeding if one has a grant of immunity. However, if one makes a new statement that is false, one can still be charged with perjury, regardless of immunity.
Many times, a simple statement can make or break the State’s case. If one has been charged with perjury, one should quickly obtain an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, ensuring that one will not have to suffer at the hands of a powerful State-operated legal system.