When Louisianians think about facing criminal charges, they might be under the impression that it is simply related to theft, violence and other overt acts that violate the law. However, there are criminal allegations that can be lodged as part of the investigation including making false statements to law enforcement. A conviction carries significant penalties on its own.
It is important to understand the law regarding false statements to federal officials. If a person conceals or covers up facts regarding a criminal act; lies or gives fraudulent statements or misrepresentations; or uses documents or written information that is fraudulent, false or is fiction, it is illegal. This is considered a process crime because it interferes with the justice system. People may be convicted of false statements and be acquitted of the crime that spurred the investigation.
For a conviction on these charges, the prosecution must show that the false statement was made; the person intentionally gave false statements and the statement was relevant to the investigation. Consequences include imprisonment for up to five years along with a fine for up to $250,000. In cases with allegations of terrorism, there can be a prison sentence for up to eight years.
These crimes frequently occur during white collar investigations. It can also occur when being interviewed by agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and during hearings before lawmakers. A criminal conviction for giving false statements can negatively impact on a person’s future. Being charged with false statements might not sound serious, but the penalties are harsh. Crafting a criminal defense may be essential to a positive outcome. Perhaps that can be achieved through a plea bargain or by getting an outright acquittal. Consulting with experienced legal professionals is a critical step to deal with the case