Every witness who takes the stand in your theft case is required to take an oath, to tell the truth. However, this oath is not a guarantee that the person will speak the truth. Despite swearing to tell the truth, people still lie under oath. If you are fighting theft charges in Dallas, it is important to understand what happens when a witness lies in your case.
How Do You Prove Someone is Lying in Your Theft Case in Dallas?
If you notice that a witness is lying, the first thing that you should do is notify your attorney. Reacting through an outburst in court is never a smart decision. It will undermine your credibility and frustrate the judge.
A skilled criminal defense will have the skills necessary to attack the witness’s trustworthiness. There are various methods that your attorney could use to expose the lying witness, including:
- Cross-examining the witness. Your attorney can challenge the individual on facts that do not line up and discredit them through inconsistent statements. For example, the attorney can confront the witness on differences between their interview with the police and testimony in court.
- Offering other witnesses who will tell the correct version of events.
- Using additional evidence, such as surveillance footage or audio recordings, to prove that the facts could not have unfolded in the way that the witness claimed.
- Offering evidence that the witness is not trustworthy (i.e., past felony convictions or a history of substance abuse).
- Offering evidence to show that the witness had a motive to lie (i.e., they were offered reduced charges in their own criminal case if they testified in your theft trial or the other potential suspect was their brother).
Even if you cannot offer solid proof that the person lied, undercutting the witness’s reliability can discredit their testimony.
After both sides have presented their case, your attorney can ask the judge to give instructions to the jury regarding the credibility of the evidence. The judge can remind the jury that they can disregard a witness’s testimony if they believe it is unreliable and not credible.
Can You Challenge the Theft Conviction on Appeal in Dallas?
Lies made during your theft case can sway the minds of the judge or jury and have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. If you were convicted, you may be able to challenge the case on appeal. You should not have to suffer prison time and fines because of someone else’s lies.
Your appeal will only be successful if you prove two main elements:
- The witness lied, and
- You would not have been convicted without the untrue testimony.
These appeals are difficult to prove and require substantial evidence. You will need a qualified attorney on your side to argue the case. If the court grants your appeal, the judge may give you a new trial. You will have a second chance at proving your innocence.
Appeals must be filed very quickly after you are convicted. Do wait to reach out to a local criminal defense attorney if you think that a witness lied in your theft case.
What are the Criminal Consequences for Lying Under Oath in Dallas?
A witness who purposely lies under oath in your theft case is committing perjury. Perjury is an offense that is punishable under both state and federal law.
Under 18 U.S. Code 1621, perjury is any false statement made under oath, declaration, certificate, or verification in which the person making the statement knows the information to be false. If the witness is convicted of perjury under federal law, he or she could face up to five years in prison.
Under Texas state law, perjury is usually a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and/or fines of up to $4,000. If the lie was made in connection with an official proceeding and directly impacted the outcome of the case, the individual can be charged with aggravated perjury. Aggravated perjury is a third-degree penalty and punishable by two to ten years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
You cannot sue a witness who lied in your theft case for money damages.
Your Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have questions about theft charges, you should reach out to an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced Dallas attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected. Call Philip D. Ray today to schedule a consultation at (469) 588-6770.