How to File Criminal Charges for Perjury

By Lea Cook
Perjury is deliberately lying in a judicial proceeding.

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Perjury is a criminal offense committed by a person who, having been sworn to tell the truth in a matter pending in a court of justice, willfully and deliberately lies. To constitute perjury, a statement must be made under oath in a judicial proceeding and be material to the issue being tried. If a witness makes a misstatement unintentionally or a mistake is made, it is not considered perjury.

Verify the suspect was under oath in an official court proceeding and obtain a recording or certified transcript of the proceeding if available. A transcript would be available from a court reporter and a recording would be available from the judge or official court bailiff.

Present evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If the matter involves a federal court, contact the agency most closely related to the issue. For example the Internal Revenue Service deals with issues regarding lying about taxes. Refer a state matter to the attorney general. Refer a city or county matter to the local police department or district attorney's office.

Identify the parties, statement and any issues in question. Answer any questions posed by law enforcement. Be prepared to give a sworn statement regarding your knowledge of events and provide contact information.

Request law enforcement refer the case to the proper county, state or federal attorney's office to file charges. Individuals cannot file charges, only make criminal complaints. Prosecutors will review the information on a case by case basis to see if it meets the elements of the crime and make a filing decision.

Follow up on the case. If you have not received any communication regarding the case, contact the law enforcement agency or prosecutor's office for information. More investigation may be necessary, or the reviewing attorney may ultimately decide there is not enough evidence to proceed.

About the Author

Lea Cook began writing professionally in 1994. After completing her bachelor's degree in journalism/theater arts in 1998 from Texas Tech University, she attended law school at Texas Tech University School of Law. Cook began practicing law in 2002 as a prosecutor and general practice attorney.

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