Our justice system relies on the fundamental truths provided by different law people. These truths are given in various ways, such as documents and recordings. However, another way that the fact is given is through testimonies.
Testimonies are one of the most common ways the truth is delivered in court. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unreliable, given that eyewitness accounts are usually blurred by what people can remember. Moreover, lying can also be one way people can make the truth look a bit more obscure than before. But there are ways the court can ensure that people won’t lie during their testimonies.
Before discussing what happens when someone lies under oath, we should first delve into what testimonies genuinely mean.
As stated earlier, testimonies are one way prosecutors can get the truth from people. Essentially, testimonies are statements made orally (can be recorded as well) and responses to prosecutors’ interrogative questions. People who make a testimony are required to swear under oath. It isn’t the most reliable proof, but testimonies happen in court almost all the time.
Various problems surround testimonies. These problems include stress, memory, eyesight, witness bias, and how prosecutors and officers phrase a particular question. This is why other evidence must also be given to support testimonies.
Without any means to support testimonies, many judges and juries have to take the word of a witness as if it was the truth and nothing but the truth. However, accepting testimonies, especially when contaminated by various factors, rarely happen in court.
Supporting testimonies are an essential part of court justice. Keeping testimonies can be as simple as another witness agreeing with testimony, or it can be as complex as cross-examining previously mentioned evidence provided in court.
For example, one can cross-examine an evidence-based time. By reviewing an alibi stated by the witness, you can know if the testimony they have said is provided in the right and place. This is just one of the countless examples one can support testimonies. But what happens if you’ve lied under oath and they knew that you did indeed lie?
Lying Under Oath
Lying under oath is a case of perjury. If you don’t know what perjury means, well, it’s as simple as misleading people through the use of lies. There are many variations of perjury, and some of them aren’t court-related. For example, you can commit perjury by understating your earnings while filing your income tax for the IRS.
It’s a severe offense, knowing it’s a crime against justice. You can be convicted under federal law, and you can be sentenced to prison for more than five years. This can depend on state laws and other factors.
However, the most crucial part about perjury and lying under oath is that you intend to mislead persecutors. Without proof of intention, then you might just be labeled as an unreliable witness due to varying circumstances. There is still a chance that you might be sentenced to some jail time, but it’s more unlikely.
You might now think, how does the justice system ensure that people don’t like under oath? The justice system ensures people don’t lie in many ways, including the oath itself.
Swearing Under an Oath
The moment you swear under oath is when you tell God and your fellow people that you’re there to help justice be served and no other reason whatsoever. There is fear involved when people swear under oath, and sometimes this fear is enough to control their desire to lie. Moreover, swearing under oath ensures that you knowingly commit perjury if you decide to lie during your testimony.
Transcribes and Recordings
Every court transcribes what happens during legal proceedings. Court transcribers and video recorders ensure what they hear or see is the definite version of what people say. In some situations, the legal proceeding itself is recorded to ensure sufficient evidence to catch someone who has lied.
This is the best way the court can ensure that people who have done their testimonies don’t change their statements at the last second. This is a sign of perjury and good enough proof that a person intentionally lies to mislead further court proceedings.
Lying under oath can be a serious offense, and it can easily cost you your life. In cases of murder, perjury can lead to association with the murder itself, which can lead to many years of prison. So before making any testimony ensure that you have no intention to lie under oath. Remember, justice is always served, and the truth always prevails in the end.