Perjury is an intentional false statement given under oath on a material point. The basic elements for the crime of perjury are as follows:
- The defendant made a false statement.
- The defendant made the false statement while under oath.
- The false statement was material or relevant to the proceeding.
- The defendant made the statement with knowledge of its falsity.
Laws that criminalise perjury, however, do not require that the false statement be given in a court of law. Generally, the forum for a perjurious statement includes any court, depositions in connection with litigation, bail hearings, venue hearings, suppression hearings, and so on.
Thus, an individual can commit perjury for false statements made somewhere other than a court of law.
Also, for a statement to be perjurious, it must be material. Generally, a statement is material if it tends to influence, or is capable of influencing, the decision of the decision-making body to whom it is addressed.
False Claims and Statements to Government Agencies
Laws prohibiting false claims and statements to government agencies make it illegal for a person to lie to, or conceal material information from, a government agency. A false claim is an assertion of a right to government money, property, or services that contains a misrepresentation. A false statement is an oral or written communication, declaration, or assertion that is factually untrue.