Is it perjury to say you don t remember?

Asked by: Cordie Armstrong  |  Last update: September 15, 2023
Score: 4.6/5 (28 votes)

First, if you say you don't remember something and that's not the truth, you are lying under oath whether it's provable or not. If it turns out you casually mentioned or questioned the transactions to someone at the time and that comes out, you could face perjury charges.

Is not remembering perjury?

Any answer – even “I don't recall” – must be truthful

First of all, if you say you don't recall, you need to be telling the truth. If you don't “recall” something you've talked or otherwise communicated with people about, it may only be a matter of time before that comes to light and you could face a perjury charge.

Is it OK to say I dont remember in court?

Rule number six: If you don't remember, say so. A witness can only testify to what he or she clearly remembers. This is not what we're used to. In our normal conversations, we rarely say just, "I don't recall" and then stop.

Can you say I don't know in court?

That's perfectly acceptable and all you should say is “I don't know.” If you don't remember, you say, “I don't remember,” and that's in fact what you should do. You should never really guess at an answer. You should never just make up something.

Is it perjury if it was a mistake?

For something to be perjury, a prosecutor has to prove that the person knowingly and intentionally made a false statement. Normally, it isn't considered perjury if someone made an honest mistake, had a lapse in memory or simply forgot certain facts.

Beverly Bremers - DON'T SAY YOU DON'T REMEMBER (1971-72)

18 related questions found

Is an honest mistake a crime?

California Legal Defenses: Mistake Of Fact

If a defendant has an honest and reasonable mistake of fact regarding their behavior or actions, they may not have the required criminal intent to be held criminally liable.

What is the difference between lying and perjury?


Perjury requires a knowingly false statement under oath that is material or relevant to the matter at hand. Just remaining silent or refusing to provide any statement at all –so-called lies of omission– do not constitute perjury.

What to say in court if you don't know?

If you do not know, or cannot remember, say so. Do not guess or make up an answer. You can be positive about important things which you naturally would remember. If you are asked about little details which a person naturally would not remember, and you're unsure of the answer, it is best just to say so.

How do you impress a judge in court?

You may be nervous when you get into the courtroom, but these six tips will help ease any anxiety about how it's going to go.
  1. Know the judge. ...
  2. Be organized with your paperwork. ...
  3. Dress Appropriately. ...
  4. Stay calm in front of the jury. ...
  5. Keep eye contact with the jury. ...
  6. Don't be late to court.

What should you avoid saying in court?

What NOT to Say while Testifying
  • Don't lie. This seems to be common sense, but it has to be said. ...
  • Don't guess. If you don't know the answer, say so. ...
  • Don't talk about your character. ...
  • Don't call other witnesses liars.

Can a memory be used in court?

In criminal law, the use of repressed memories as evidence is generally met with skepticism and may not be admitted if the court finds them unreliable or if the process of recovering the memories involves suggestive techniques.

Is it best to be honest in court?

Whether you are a plaintiff, a defendant, or a witness, the best thing you can do in any legal dispute is be rigorously honest.

Can your words be used against you in court?

Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law

All suspects have the right to remain silent. Those who give up that right face the prospect that their statements will be used against them in court. This can be tricky, as many times the only evidence against a defendant is a confession.

Is perjury difficult to prove?

Perjury is rarely charged, and it is difficult for prosecutors to prove. However, the threat of perjury charges is often a tool lawyers use to ensure that witnesses provide candid testimony to the court.

How is perjury proven?

The elements of perjury are (1) that the declarant took an oath to testify truthfully, (2) that he willfully made a false statement contrary to that oath (3) that the declarant believed the statement to be untrue, and (4) that the statement related to a material fact. It is easy to prove that a declarant took an oath.

Why is perjury difficult to prove?

Examine the witness's knowledge and intent.

They also must have made the false statement intentionally, because they wanted to deceive or mislead a government official, or a judge or jury. This can be the most difficult part of a perjury case to prove, and it's the reason there are so few convictions.

How do you say hello to a judge?

In person: In an interview, social event, or in court, address a judge as “Your Honor” or “Judge [last name].” If you are more familiar with the judge, you may call her just “Judge.” In any context, avoid “Sir” or “Ma'am.”

How do judges decide who is telling the truth?

The judge wil often look to other evidence and witnesses to decide which party is telling the truth. If you have a case that involves domestic violence, having evidence to present that corroborates your version of the events can be especially important.

How do you show respect to a judge?

Be polite and respectful to everyone. When you speak to the Judge, say “Yes, your honor” or “No, your honor.” • Sit up straight. Don't slouch in your chair. Try not to use slang.

How do you apologize in court?

Tell the court how you feel

This may be a feeling of shame, or remorse, or embarrassment for you or your family. You may wish to express sympathy for others you have affected, including, if any, victims of the conduct. Explaining how you feel can help the court see that you are taking the matter seriously.

How do you apologize to a judge in court?

Outline your remorse and insight into the offence. I.e. “I regret my behaviour and understand that it is a serious offence that caused harm/could have caused significant harm. It is important to acknowledge any harm or loss that was either caused or could have been caused to yourself or others.”

How do lawyers stay calm?

Some lawyers turn to exercise, yoga, or mindfulness to relax and relieve stress. Others rely heavily on their support networks, such as mentors, peers, or colleagues.

Do judges see through lies?

Judges are experienced legal professionals trained to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and evidence presented in court. While they may not always know for certain when someone is lying, they can often detect signs of dishonesty, such as inconsistencies in statements, body language cues, or conflicting evidence.

How common is perjury?

Perjury, or lying under oath in court, is often called “the forgotten offense” because it is not only widespread, but rarely prosecuted, especially in America, where it's been a crime since 1790.

What is an example of perjury?

Examples Of Perjury

You were a witness at a friend's homicide trial where you knowingly and intentionally testified falsely while under oath, providing an alibi for your friend. You are a notary public who authenticated a document you knew was forged under the penalty of perjury.