What is the penalty for perjury in California?

Asked over 1 year ago - Burbank, CA

My neighbor is trying to get a restraining order against me. She brought in another neighbor that LIED and said she was in her front yard the day of the supposed harassment. She didn't know one of my security cameras captures her front yard. I didn't have the footage from ALL day right there with me but the Judge allowed a continuance so in 3 weeks I am taking in 8 hours of footage. What is going to happen to this neighbor that lied?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Neil James Fraser

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Frankly, nothing, in all likelihood. Hopefully you will win the case, be awarded costs and the neighbor will get a tongue-lashing from the judge. However it is extremely unlikely prosecuting authorities will be interested in pursuing a criminal action. It simply does not happen, except in rare instances.

  2. Christine C McCall


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Mr. Fraser and Mr. Mataele are correct, and it maybe helpful to understand why there are so few "private person" perjury cases.

    Every case involves one side that is telling "the truth" and one side of liars. Ask anyone who has ever been to court. But if we use that standard for bringing perjury prosecutions, then every case will spawn at least one other case. And, since all of those perjury cases would require trials, all of those perjury cases will feature a winning side (the "truth!") and a losing side (liars!). So each of the secondary perjury cases would cause a third-wave perjury case. And on and on. It wouldn't take a year even for our system to collapse from the weight of the tsunami of perjury cases.

    So, in most cases the penalty for perjury is the loss of the dispute that the false testimony occurred in the course of. Very occasionally, a court will exercise its powers to sanction a party witness or to refer a matter to the local prosecutor for perjury investigation. Even then, the prosecutor usually declines to prosecute.

    By the way, it is not enough that a person lie in order to be guilty of perjury (even if the prosecutor were willing to prosecute). By statute, a perjury conviction requires admissible evidence of the perjury from 2 independent witnesses; the perjurious statement must be about a material fact; and, of course, it must be intentionally false. Almost every case where a litigant thinks the other side has committed "perjury," will fail by one of those evidentiary standards.

    Most perjury prosecutions involve false written statements under a written subscription to the government itself. Those are for the most part provable cases and do not represent perpetuations or re-litigation of on-going private disputes.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
  3. Isileli Tupou Manaia Mataele

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Most likely nothing. That happened in one case with me but the judge was so bias and said that she must not have remembered right because she was stressed (stressed despite the fact that nothing happened like she claimed?). Anyways she was granted a restraining order anyways. You just never know what will happen in these cases. People lie all the time but nothing happens more than upset the judge and make the witness look bad.

    This is not a comprehensive answer and it is impossible to provide a meaningful response without a consultation.... more

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