Saying “I don’t know” in a Californian court – are you committing perjury?

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It’s never a good feeling to be under the spotlight when being questioned in a court of law in California. But, if you have been charged with a DUI offense, and have been asked to give evidence, it’s important to make sure that you tell the truth. The DUI lawyer that you hire will explain why not doing so is likely to get you into more trouble.

This is because not telling the truth can lead to you being charged with perjury. In fact, this can even happen if you respond “I don’t know”, when you are asked a question. It depends on why you are responding in this way.

An explanation of perjury

In order to understand why perjury can be such a problem for you in court, you need to understand what it is. When you are in a court of law, you swear to tell the truth. If you fail to do so, and what you say is relevant to the case that is being prosecuted, you may be charged with perjury. It’s important to note that perjury only applies if you deliberately lie in court; not if you simply make a mistake. If you want to avoid incriminating yourself, you can choose to take the fifth amendment, rather than committing perjury.

Why is saying “I don’t know” perjury?

It’s easy to understand why lying in court is committing perjury; but why should this be the case if you say “I don’t know”. The reason why this is often classed as perjury is that it can be said by someone, simply as a means of avoiding a difficult question. If you say that you do not know about something in court, and this is not true, then you are committing perjury. Of course, it may be difficult for the court to prove this.

It’s also important to note that you should never be afraid of saying that you do not know, or do not remember, if that is actually the case. But, you should never forget that you may have made comments in previous statements that could be used to prove that you do know about a subject. You should only ever say “I don’t know” if it’s true. Otherwise, you could be charged with perjury in just the same way that you would if you had told an outright lie.

You may not have thought too much about the subject of perjury before. Hopefully, you can now see why it’s not a good idea to lie in court. You can also see that even saying “I don’t know” can cause problems for you, if you are not genuine when you say it. If you are attending court, and have any concerns about giving evidence, you should speak to your lawyer. They will advise you about what you should and should not do, and help you feel more prepared before you take to the stand.