Ever hear of the “perjury trap” in a federal criminal case? It’s the kind of issue that unwary people run into all the time when they suddenly find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a federal investigation.
Essentially, it works like this: The prosecutors don’t have any solid evidence that you’ve committed a crime. You probably aren’t even central to their main case. However, for whatever reason, they want to put you under their thumb. To that end, you are called in to testify in a grand jury or you’re interviewed extensively by investigators — and every word you say is heavily scrutinized for its truthfulness.
Why? Because lying to a federal officer or in your testimony in the grand jury is a crime all on its own. If you’re caught in any kind of lie, the prosecutor now has the ability to level charges against you — or use the threat of those charges as leverage to get you to comply further with their actual investigation.
Should you be worried about a perjury trap if you’re being asked to give testimony or talk to investigators? Absolutely. Won’t the truth protect you? Maybe not. The average individual isn’t typically aware of what may be considered a crime under federal laws. You can be guilty of an offense without even realizing it — and your intentions seldom matter once a prosecutor is focused on you.
When you’re dealing with a federal criminal investigation, it’s extremely easy to make a mistake that can lead to charges. The right time to approach an experienced defense attorney about your situation is long before you speak to investigators. Find out more about how to best protect your position and your rights today.