You are here: Information Center >> Criminal Law >> Specific Offenses >> Perjury


Perjury is an assertion of fact or knowledge by a person under oath when that person knows, or is of the opinion, that what he is swearing to is false. Testifying that you witnessed a certain individual commit crime, when you did not really witness it, is perjury. However, the falsehood or lie must be material, so that testifying that you witnessed a crime when you were sitting on a bench rather than standing on a sidewalk is not necessarily perjury.

Perjury does not have to be spoken-it can also be committed in writing. For example, when you sign your tax return, you are swearing to its truthfulness, under consequence of perjury.