According to New York Penal Law 210.45, there are circumstances where making a false written statement is punishable by law. False written statements are a form of perjury. Perjury is the name for the criminal offense that occurs when a person lies under oath. Most often, people know perjury as the crime that occurs when a witness lies during a trial. But making false written statements on criminal complaints or sworn affidavits is another form of perjury.
Multiple perjury offenses are outlined in New York’s criminal code. Government officials, law enforcement officers, and private citizens are all capable of committing perjury. If you have been accused of making a false written statement while under oath, the potential charge you face varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the false statement.
Penal Law 210.45 comes into play when the false statement was provided in a written format. Most commonly, this occurs when a person signs a false statement when filing a criminal complaint.
In People v. Ackermann, the defendant was a police officer named Michael Ackermann. He was charged with a number of crimes, one of which was making a punishable false written statement. He had signed a false criminal complaint. The complaint in question alleged that a New York Times photographer named Robert Stolarik had resisted arrest, obstructed governmental administration, and committed other related crimes. Ackermann stated that Stolarik impeded an arrest by approaching him with a camera and repeatedly discharging a bright camera flash. At the time, the photographer was arrested. Later, the evidence showed that the camera Stolarik was using didn’t have any built-in flash capabilities. Stolarik also had no external flash attachments when he was arrested.
In People v. Shutter, the defendant was a woman named Lisa Shutter. She was convicted of having made a punishable false written statement. The statement in question was a false complaint alleging that a police officer had inappropriately touched her in the middle of a traffic stop.
In People v. Lowin, defendant Sara Lowin received a conviction of having made a punishable false statement following the towing of two vehicles from her property. The vehicles belonged to another individual. The police asked her about the vehicles, and she stated that she was unsure where they had gone. Later, a tow truck driver witnessed that the vehicles had been towed upon Lowin’s request.
The prosecution must prove that you made the false statement intentionally and willingly. This means that you must have known you were making a false statement. If the false statement occurred because you remembered facts inaccurately or made a mistake, you would not meet the “knowingly” clause of the law. Therefore, you would not have committed this crime.
In another defense, you can be exonerated from making a false written statement if you can prove that the statement was true. If you provide evidence that your statement was true, you wouldn’t be found guilty of this particular charge.
When you are convicted of having made a false written statement under oath, you have committed a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor class. If you are convicted, the maximum sentence is one year spent in jail, three years of probation, and a fine.
To be found guilty, the prosecutor must have sufficient evidence to prove that you have made a false statement knowingly and willingly. It’s important that you get in touch with a defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you understand your options and review the case facts to give you the best defense available.
Tsigler Law is a law firm with a number of experienced professionals. These New York criminal defense attorneys can help you through your arrest, arraignment, and negotiation process. If you need a consultation, call 718-878-3781 or use the contact form found here.