Individuals in Oregon and throughout the country who intentionally make false statements to federal officials are likely committing a felony offense. Individuals who knowingly create or use documents containing false information to deceive the government could also be charged with a felony. It is important to note that to be charged with a felony count of making a false statement, the statement must relate to something that could influence government policy.
If the statement is not considered to be material, it is unlikely that a person would be convicted of such a crime. The types of penalties a person may face if convicted depend on the facts of a case. Those who make false statements as part of a terrorist plot could spend up to eight years in prison. Otherwise, a defendant can expect to spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $250,000.
An individual who is facing the possibility of prison time is generally entitled to have an attorney assist with his or her case. An attorney may be able to help a person understand the nuances of the criminal justice system and avoid saying or doing anything that may undermine his or her position. If a person is unable to afford a legal representative, one may be appointed to that individual.
Legal counsel may be able to show that a person did not willfully make false material statements to a government official. This may be done by presenting written transcripts of interviews conducted with that official or other evidence bolstering the claim that a defendant was truthful at all times. Ideally, the evidence presented in court will be enough to help a person get a criminal case dismissed, negotiate a favorable plea deal or obtain an acquittal.