NRS 199.120: What You Need to Know About Perjury and Subornation of Perjury in Nevada
Movies and TV shows are a great way to escape reality. We can watch people solve crimes, fall in love, or save the world and forget about our own problems for a little while.
But one thing that always bothers me is when people are asked to swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth during court scenes. It seems like such an important promise, and yet it’s often treated as if it’s no big deal.
I think it’s because we forget how serious perjury and subornation of perjury can be. These are crimes that can ruin lives and tear families apart. They’re also crimes that are surprisingly easy to commit – all it takes is a false statement under oath.
What Are Perjury and Subornation of Perjury Under NRS 199.120 in Nevada?
Perjury and subornation of perjury under NRS 199.120 are both considered criminal acts in the state of Nevada. Perjury is defined as knowingly making a false statement under oath or affirmation. This can include lying in a courtroom or even making false statements on official documents, like tax returns or loan applications.
Suborn Perjury Definition
Subornation of perjury is procuring or inducing someone else to make a false statement under oath or affirmation. It also includes situations where the accused provides money or other forms of consideration in exchange for false testimony. This is a criminal offense and can result in fines, imprisonment, or both.
The statute reads:
A person, having taken a lawful oath or made affirmation in a judicial proceeding or in any other matter where, by law, an oath or affirmation is required and no other penalty is prescribed, who:
Willfully makes an unqualified statement of that which the person does not know to be true;
Swears or affirms willfully and falsely in a matter material to the issue or point in question;
Suborns any other person to make such an unqualified statement or to swear or affirm in such a manner;
Executes an affidavit pursuant to NRS 15.010which contains a false statement, or suborns any other person to do so; or
Executes an affidavit or other instrument which contains a false statement before a person authorized to administer oaths or suborns any other person to do so.
What’s the Difference Between Perjury and Suborn Perjury?
The fundamental difference between perjury and subornation of perjury lies in the person who commits the act. Perjury is when an individual personally makes a false statement under oath. This act is solely committed by the individual who makes the false statement. For example, if a person testifies in court that they were at a specific location at a specific time, knowing that this statement is untrue, they have committed perjury.
Subornation of perjury, on the other hand, involves persuading or inducing another person to commit perjury. It is a third party who orchestrates the act of perjury by another individual. For instance, if a lawyer knowingly encourages their client to provide false testimony in a court case, the lawyer is guilty of subornation of perjury.
A more nuanced difference is the nature of the untruthful statement. In perjury, the false statement is a direct act by the individual, and it is given under circumstances where they are required by law to speak the truth. In subornation of perjury, the third party involved does not directly make the false statement, but they play a key role in causing the perjury to occur.
In simpler terms: perjury is the act of lying, while subornation of perjury is the act of convincing someone else to lie under oath.
Elements of Perjury
In order for a person to be found liable of perjury in Nevada, the prosecution must prove that:
- The accused willfully made a false statement or unqualified statement of something they did not know to be true;
- The false statement was made under an oath or affirmation where such an oath or affirmation is required by law; and
- The false statement was material to the issue or point in question.
A notable case that involved perjury was that of former President Bill Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In this case, the president was accused of lying under oath when questioned about his relationship with Lewinsky.
Elements of Subornation of Perjury
Subornation of perjury requires proof that:
- The accused willfully procured or induced another to make an unqualified statement or swear or affirm falsely in a matter where such an oath or affirmation is required by law; and
- The false statement was material to the issue or point in question.
For example, if John’s lawyer, Dave, knows that John will testify falsely but still encourages him to do so on the witness stand, then Dave can be found guilty of subornation of perjury.
What Are the Penalties for Perjury and Subornation of Perjury
In Nevada, both perjury and subornation of perjury are considered a category D felony offense and carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Additionally, the court may also order the convicted person to pay restitution to any victims of their crime. For example, if a person is found guilty of perjury in regard to a loan application, they may be required to repay the lender for any losses resulting from their false statement.
An attempt without bribery to suborn others to perjure themselves is a gross misdemeanor. This carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
On the other hand, if someone commits perjury (or subornation of perjury) which leads to an innocent person’s wrongful conviction and/or execution, they will be charged with murder, which is a category A felony. If convicted, the person(s) will be punished by imprisonment:
- For life without the possibility of parole;
- For life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 20 years has been served; or
- For a definite term of 50 years, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 20 years has been served.
What Are the Defenses to Perjury and Subornation of Perjury in Nevada?
The most common defense to perjury and subornation of perjury is that the defendant did not knowingly make a false statement. It’s important to remember that simply making a mistake does not qualify as perjury or subornation of perjury; in order for the statement to be considered a crime, it must have been made willfully and with knowledge of its falsity.
Another defense against NRS 199.120 is that the defendant never took an oath, or an oath was not required. It could also be that the false information was not material to the matter at hand. For example, a person could not be charged with perjury for providing a false answer to an irrelevant question.
Finally, since perjury and subornation of perjury are considered serious offenses in Nevada, the accused can raise a lack of sufficient evidence as a defense. This means that if there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant willfully provided false information under oath, the charges should not stand.
How to Avoid Committing Perjury or Subornation of Perjury in Nevada
In order to avoid committing perjury or subornation of perjury, it is important to understand the law and the penalties associated with these offenses. When testifying in court, be sure to answer questions truthfully and accurately.
Also, if an individual suspects that someone else may be suborning perjury, they should notify the authorities so that the matter can be investigated.
Finally, if a person is asked to testify about something they do not know for certain, it is best to state that you are uncertain or do not know rather than making a false statement. By doing so, an individual can avoid unintentionally committing perjury or subornation of perjury.
Charged with Perjury or Subornation of Perjury?
Perjury and subornation of perjury are considered serious crimes with severe penalties. It’s important to take any and all oaths seriously and remember that it is a crime to make false statements under oath or to induce someone else to do so. If you have been accused of either crime, it is recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on your legal rights and help build a defense strategy that can protect your freedom.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between perjury and subornation of perjury?
Perjury is the act of knowingly making a false statement under oath. Subornation of perjury is the act of encouraging, inducing or procuring someone else to commit perjury.
Are perjury and subornation of perjury considered felonies in Nevada?
Yes, both are considered category D felonies in Nevada, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. An attempted subornation without bribery is a gross misdemeanor.
What defenses can be used against charges of perjury or subornation of perjury?
The most common defense is that the defendant did not knowingly make a false statement. Other defenses include that an oath was never taken, the false information was not material to the matter at hand, or lack of sufficient evidence. It is recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you have been accused of either crime. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on your legal rights and help build a defense strategy that can protect your freedom.
What if a lawyer knows his client is lying?
If a lawyer has reasonable knowledge that their client is committing perjury, they have an ethical duty to either withdraw from the case or move to correct the false statement. Failing to do so may result in disciplinary action or even criminal charges. The attorney must also inform their client of the possible consequences of making a false statement under oath and advise them not to do so. If needed, the lawyer can also move for a mistrial if it becomes clear that the witness was lying on the stand. It is important for attorneys to take this obligation seriously, as it is an essential part of ensuring justice is served in any given case.
Can perjury be commited outside of court?
Yes, a person can commit perjury outside of court as long as they are knowingly making false statements under oath. For instance, if a person signs an affidavit or swears to the truth of a statement in front of a notary public, they could be charged with perjury if it is found that the statement was false. It is important to remember that any time a person is taking an oath, it is legally binding and they must tell the truth. Failing to do so could result in criminal charges.
What are the long-term consequences of a conviction for perjury or subornation of perjury?
A conviction for perjury or subornation of perjury in Nevada carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, the person convicted may have their reputation damaged and be subject to social stigma. It can also be difficult for them to find employment or housing due to the conviction. Finally, any future attempts to obtain a security clearance may be hindered due to the conviction. Therefore, it is essential for anyone accused of either crime to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect their legal rights and work towards obtaining the best possible outcome in court.
Can a conviction for perjury or subornation of perjury be expunged/sealed ?
Yes, a conviction under NRS 199.120 can be sealed 5 years after the case ends.
What should you do if you have been accused of perjury or subornation of perjury?
If you have been accused of perjury or subornation of perjury in Nevada, it is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help protect your rights and develop a defense strategy to fight the charges in court. They will also be able to give you advice on how to handle the situation and inform you of any potential consequences.