If you’re accused of a crime, you’ll eventually have your day in court.

The U.S. Constitution gives you the right to avoid incriminating yourself, which means you don’t have to take the stand and shout, “I’m guilty! Put me in jail!”

However, once you go to court, you’re required to tell the truth.

In some cases, your lawyer will avoid putting you on the stand (that means you won’t be required to speak in court at all; others will testify for and against you, and your lawyer will argue on your behalf while you sit there silently).

In other cases, your Chicago criminal defense lawyer will feel that it’s best for you to say what needs to be said in front of the judge and jury.

But what happens if you get up in front of the court and you tell a lie?

What Happens if You Lie in Court?

Whether it’s intentional, a mistake, or a slip-up, you can’t lie when you’re under oath in court.

If you do and you’re caught (you’ll most likely be caught), you can be charged with the crime of perjury.

Perjury is the offense of willfully telling an “untruth” while you’re under oath in court.

In the state of Illinois, it’s definitely a crime—and it’s one that carries serious penalties.

Penalties for Perjury (or Lying in Court) in the State of Illinois

If you’re charged with and convicted of perjury in court, you could end up spending time in jail (more than you would if you were only convicted of the original crime.) Perjury is a Class 3 felony in Illinois.

Your lawyer will advise you to tell only the truth (and only answer questions you’re asked directly, without volunteering additional information) when you’re in court. The best idea is to follow that advice; it’s harder for your lawyer to do his job if you lie while you’re under oath… and the chances are extremely good that you’ll get caught and be punished, anyway.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’ve been accused of or charged with a crime in Chicago, Skokie or Rolling Meadows, call us immediately at 847-920-4540 for your free case evaluation. The sooner you call us and tell us what’s going on, the sooner we’ll be able to build a strategic defense that gets you the best possible outcome.

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