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perjury(pûr`jərē), in criminal law, the act of willfully and knowingly stating a falsehood under oath or under affirmation in judicial or administrative proceedings. If the person accused of perjury had any probable cause for his belief that the statement he made was true, then he is not guilty of perjury. In U.S. federal law, and in most states, a false statement must be material to a point of inquiry in order to constitute perjury. Perjury is a crime and may be punished by fine or imprisonment. One can retract false testimony in the course of a criminal procedure without committing perjury. The crime of inducing another person to commit perjury is called subornation of perjury.
according to Soviet law, a crime that involves the deliberate concealment of facts or conscious distortion of the truth by a witness or victim in court or during the preliminary investigation of the crime. Perjury may result in conviction of an innocent person or acquittal of a criminal. A deliberately false opinion by an expert or a deliberately incorrect translation by an interpreter are equivalent to perjury (art. 181 of the RSFSR Criminal Code and the corresponding articles of the criminal codes of the other Union republics).
Perjury is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a period of up to one year or correctional labor for the same period. If the perjury is connected with an accusation of a particularly dangerous state crime or other grave crime or with fabrication of evidence to support the accusation or if it is given for a mercenary purpose, it is punishable by deprivation of freedom for two to seven years. According to Article 181 of the Criminal Code, the defendant is not criminally responsible for perjury, but any attempt by him to distort the truth is considered by the court in setting the punishment for the crime for which he is being tried.