Perjury is a serious offense in most circumstances. It is the act of violating honesty and trust when swearing on oath or taking the stand to give a testimony in court. Since honesty is at the heart of the criminal justice system, perjury violates this integrity. Subornation of perjury is even more threatening for those who have been charged with a crime. This act combines misrepresentation while under oath with an element of conspiracy. The consequences of subornation of perjury can lead to severe penalties that require the help of a bail bondsman and lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about subornation of perjury.
What Is Subornation of Perjury?
To put it simply, subornation of perjury is when a person attempts to persuade a witness to give a false testimony under oath in a court and the witness follows through. Many times, charges for subornation of perjury are placed on attorneys who persuade their clients to lie while under oath. Depending on the situation, this can be considered aggravated perjury, which is a third-degree felony, punishable by jail time, fines, and personal implications. An attorney that commits this offense is in jeopardy of facing sanctions and being disbarred because subornation of perjury is a crime of moral turpitude. Here are some examples:
- The defendant attempted to persuade the witness to lie under oath (even without a threat)
- The defendant believed the testimony is or will be false because of personal agendas, prejudice, or for any other reason
- The witness willingly lied under oath and it can be proven
Special Rules for Attorneys
Simply knowing that someone is intending to commit perjury will not amount to subornation of perjury; however, this rule changes when an attorney is aware that a witness or client that a lawyer is intending to call upon plans to lie under oath. Attorneys have a special responsibility as officers of the court—they are barred from trying to persuade a witness to lie under oath and must not call a witness that they know will lie under oath. Once an attorney learns that someone is about to commit perjury, they must inform the witness of the consequences of the crime, advising them to think again.
Common Defenses to Subornation of Perjury
The most common defenses to a subornation of perjury charge include the following:
- Truth: The truth of the matter is a common defense—the fact that a witness told the truth defeats a charge of suborning perjury.
- If perjury did not occur: Even if a lawyer tries to get a witness to lie, there is no crime of subornation of perjury if they still tell the truth.
- Belief that the testimony is true: If there is reasonable belief that the witness’ testimony was true, even if it wasn’t, the charge of subornation of perjury will not hold up.
Keep in mind that if the witness tries to avoid punishment for perjury by recanting his or her previous false testimony, they will still be charged with subornation of perjury. The witness’ recantation is not an acceptable defense and will likely be used against them as they admitted that perjury occurred.
How Will You Get Punished?
Subornation of perjury is a serious crime and federal laws set the punishment at up to five years in prison, including fines. States also punish this crime, which is always a felony, punishable of at least a year in state prison. An individual who has been charged with subornation of perjury in a criminal trial may receive additional charges of accessory to the underlying crime in that particular case, even if they were uninvolved. For example, if someone lied on their testimony to conceal the crime of the defendant on trial, they can be prosecuted for “accessory after the fact” to the crime. They will face two charges: first, for subornation of perjury, and secondly, for being an accessory.
Get Bail for Perjury Charges in Texas
Subornation of perjury is a serious crime that has complex ramifications because it challenges the integrity of the individuals involved. If you or someone you know is being investigated for subornation of perjury, or has been charged with the crime, you should seek the services of a bail bondsman. Choose a bail bonds company that understands how things work in terms of the laws of your state, and who has the counsel and connections to advise you on the terms of your bond agreement.
PCS Bail Bonds can help you if you need to post bail or need advice about your situation. We provide 24-hour bail bonds for all kinds of charges including theft, drug possession, embezzlement, assault, perjury, and more. Our experienced agents can help you obtain a bond in a fraction of the time it take with other agencies.
We have professional memberships in several renowned associations including the Professional Bondsmen of Texas, Tarrant County Bar Association, and Professional Bondsmen of Tarrant County. We serve clients in Fort Worth, Texas, and other municipalities in Tarrant County. We process our clients’ requests quickly and efficiently. Our bond agents are always on call and we can be down to the jail in under 30 minutes.
Contact us now by phone at 817-335-1655, at our e-mail, visit in-person, or fill out our bail bond request form. You can be confident that you’re working with experts who are dedicated to helping you.