19 Feb What Happens If I Lie In a Deposition?
Can You Lie In a Deposition?
Have you ever thought about what may happen if you find yourself in court? There are many extremely important aspects of a trial, but one of the most important parts is the deposition. A deposition allows all parties to get their information in order before trial.
An average person likely doesn’t know what happens in a deposition. You may wonder if this is a situation where you need to tell everything you know and in complete honesty.
So what happens if you lie in a deposition? If you lie in a deposition, there are serious consequences that could follow. If your lies can be proven as intentional deception, it is considered perjury. Perjury is defined as “lying under oath.” If you’re tried and found guilty of perjury, the punishment may vary on a state-by-state basis. However, it could include fines and/or jail time.
This process is just as serious and official as the proceedings before a judge in the courtroom. Certain rules must be followed, and you must answer questions truthfully. If you’d like to learn more about what to expect during a deposition, continue reading.
The Importance Of A Deposition
A deposition is an opportunity for all parties to get their information in order before trial. It’s a time when both sides can ask questions and get answers that will be used during the trial. This is important because it can help both sides settle the case before it goes to trial.
Generally, the deposing party gives notice to other parties involved, so they can have representation present. They are usually scheduled weeks or months in advance. All parties involved must answer questions truthfully. All parties are under oath during the deposition, and if they lie or refuse to answer, there can be serious consequences.
What To Expect During A Deposition
Although depositions can vary slightly depending on the specifics of your case, there are some general guidelines you can expect during a deposition.
- First, you must arrive at the scheduled time and place fully prepared with all documentation. This would include contracts, receipts, emails, photos, and any other evidence that could be helpful to your case or used against you in court.
- You will give your opening statement after being sworn in. Then speak about your role in the case, what you do for a living, and other background information.
- After that, you will be asked questions by the deposing party’s representative. Your answers have to be completely truthful, and you should answer each question truthfully before moving on to the next question. Avoid interrupting or giving short answers.
- If you don’t know an answer, say so. If you do know the answer, provide it clearly and concisely. Do not volunteer any information that is not requested or related to the case. You can also tell the representative that you’d like to review documents before answering their question; if they have no objections, you can do so.
- Finally, after all, questions for this round of questioning are finished, the representative will switch places with the other party’s representative. They will ask you questions that are related to the other side’s case. Again, your answers have to be completely truthful. Remember not to volunteer information or interrupt while being questioned.
- You will go through this process until no more questions remain on either side. The purpose of a deposition is so both parties can thoroughly get their information in order before trial.
Consequences Of Lying In a Deposition
As already stated, if you’re caught lying in a deposition, you could face perjury charges. Perjury is defined as “lying under oath“. This is the same thing that happens if someone lies in court, but it’s also official when done during a deposition.
If you are tried and found guilty of perjury, there can be serious consequences including fines and/or time in jail. Fines can vary on a state-by-state basis. Even if you think the other parties won’t find out, it’s still illegal to lie during a deposition. So it is best, to tell the truth, and only the truth.
And what if they lie? If you feel that someone is trying to lie or mislead, let their lawyer know immediately. They will likely try to move on if they think you’re catching them in a lie, but it will still be recorded during the deposition.
If you’re lucky, the other party might fess up to their lie after being caught. If not, then all you can do is continue answering questions truthfully and provide your facts to win your case.
The Role Of Your Attorney
In a deposition, your attorney can advise you on questions, but cannot answer for you. Your attorney can object to a question if they feel that it is irrelevant or designed to mislead or misinform.
They can also ask that certain questions be rephrased before answering them. If the deposing party’s lawyer doesn’t agree with an objection, they will let the judge know.
You should have a very experienced attorney with you to help guide you through this process and represent your interests in court. You can also bring along any evidence or documents that may be helpful for your case.
A deposition is not the time to try to wing it on your own. Having an attorney at your side will make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
What Should I Bring To My Deposition?
Your attorney will advise you on what specifically you need to prepare and bring. However, in general, you can expect to need some or all of these things:
- Any documents related to your case
- Evidence that will help you win the case
- A list of people who can support your side of the story
- A pen and notebook for note-taking so you don’t forget anything important
Won’t The Deposition Automatically Incriminate Me?
No. You have the right to remain silent, which means you can “plead the fifth”. This is your constitutional right. However, if you do so, it will be noted during your deposition and adjusters will assume that whatever information is being kept from them could be important to their case. Also later in court, a judge can overturn your objections made in the deposition.
If you choose not to answer a question, your lawyer can advise you on how to best answer it, such as:
“Please refer me to my attorney for advice.”
“I am unable to answer that question due to the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”
This will not stop them from asking the same questions again. So you should prepare yourself accordingly.
What Rights Do I Have During A Deposition?
It’s important to realize that you are not at the complete mercy of the other party. You have rights during this entire process. Here is a quick summary of those rights:
- the right to make copies of all documents, tapes, and transcripts for your use
- take breaks when you need them
- decline to respond if your response may incriminate or disparage you
- receive a copy of all deposition transcripts (not video footage)
- be present during any video recording
- to invoke the 5th amendment
- to ask questions or for clarifications
How Are The Proceedings Of A Deposition Used In Court?
Depositions play a key role in the pre-trial process. They allow you to provide answers that can help your case outside of court, such as negotiating for more compensation or avoiding trial altogether.
A deposition is essentially your chance to give your version of the facts and clear up any inconsistencies with what the at-fault party or witnesses have said. Your testimony during this process is crucial to receiving a fair settlement.
During the actual court hearing, depositions can be used as evidence depending on circumstances. If you or your attorney want to use deposition transcripts for the court case, they will need to be submitted under oath by the appropriate person(s) who were present during the deposition.
How Long Does A Deposition Take?
Depositions vary based on the case but can last anywhere from an hour to eight hours. However, if there are multiple parties involved or depositions need to be conducted in different locations, the time will most likely increase. They can also be conducted over multiple days if necessary.
Don’t Let the Legal System Make You Nervous
In the end, you have more rights and resources than you know. If you have questions or concerns about your case, speak with your attorney. They are experienced in the legal system and will be able to provide you with helpful advice when it comes to depositions.
In short, always tell the truth during a deposition. If you or someone else is caught in a lie or evasion, it could lead to perjury charges and/or losing your case. While legal proceedings can be frustrating and stressful, all parties involved must answer questions truthfully.