Did You Really Know You Were Making A False Statement To A Government Official?

Lying to a federal government official is a crime. A person who makes a materially false statement both willfully and knowingly could face felony charges. A person who accidentally or unknowingly makes or, worse, is tricked into putting forth false statements may be found innocent in a court of law. A skilled defense attorney would have to provide clear evidence and a compelling argument the defendant never had intentions to deceive.

Dumping Toxic Chemicals and Subsequent False Statements

A business may be required to dispose of certain toxic chemicals under regulations put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. During an investigation surrounding improperly dumped chemicals, a business owner states to government officials the chemicals do not come from his/her business. Later, it is discovered the toxic chemicals did, in fact, originate from the business in question.

On the surface, it would appear the business owner is guilty of making a false statement. However, if he/she hired a disposal company to handle the removal of the chemicals and the removal service improperly dumped the chemicals, this changes matters.

The owner had no knowledge of improper disposal and assumed the chemicals could not be his/hers. Yet, a false statement was made. The owner said "The chemicals did not come from this business" when, in fact, they did. A prosecution could emerge if a U.S. attorney doubts the veracity of the business owner's statement.

Defending the False Statement

Prosecution of the false statement is going based on a belief the defendant deliberately lied when he/she made statements about the ownership of the chemicals. The defense attorney has to refute these allegations.

For example, if the business owner provides emails from the removal service clearly noting he/she was under the impression the disposal work properly eliminated the chemicals, the statement was not deliberately false.   Not all exculpatory evidence is this clear. Evidence such as witnesses affirming oral statements made by the disposal company, however, must be compellingly presented by a criminal defense attorney to a jury. Unless the statements are presented in such a way reasonable doubt exists, garnering a "not guilty" verdict becomes difficult.

New Federal Policy on False Statements

Defending a false statement case now benefits from recent changes in Department of Justice policy. Per the agency, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the person making the statement knew it was both unlawful and false. This is another angle a skilled defense attorney can explore to achieve an acquittal. Contact a law firm, such as Davidson Law Center Inc, to how they can best help fulfill your needs.