Unsworn Falsification to Authorities

Pittsburgh Unsworn Falsification Lawyer

In Pennsylvania, unsworn falsification to authorities is a serious criminal offense that is prosecuted as a misdemeanor of the second-degree.  Penalties include up to two years in jail and a $5,000 maximum fine (although probation is common in situations where the defendant has no prior record).

Unsworn falsification is a crime of dishonesty, and as such, conviction can have a significant impact on your ability to reintegrate into society.  You may encounter barriers in the job market and be negatively perceived by others in your community.

If you’ve been charged with unsworn falsification, we encourage you to contact McKinney Law for further guidance.  Our attorneys will evaluate your case and help you launch an aggressive defense.

Elements of an Unsworn Falsification Charge

Unsworn falsification to authorities is defined by Section 4904 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.  Under the statute, a criminal defendant may be held liable for unsworn falsification if the prosecution establishes that the defendant:

  1. Intended to mislead a public servant performing an official function; by
  2. Making any written false statement which he does not believe to be true; or
  3. Submitting or inviting reliance on any writing which he knows to be forged, altered, or otherwise lacking in authenticity; or
  4. Submitting or inviting reliance on any sample, specimen, map, boundary mark, or other object which he knows to be false.

For example, suppose that you are applying for a gun license.  You knowingly lie about having been convicted or charged with a prior crime on your application.  The courts will determine that your actions were intended to mislead the public servant (performing an official function), and that the written statement was false.

Common Defenses to an Unsworn Falsification Charge

No Intent to Mislead or Deceive

In Pennsylvania, prosecutors cannot hold you criminally liable for unsworn falsification to authorities if your statements were simply “mistaken” and not intended to mislead or deceive.  For example, if you are applying for a driver’s license renewal and you mistakenly write down the wrong medical condition with which you have been diagnosed and that might prevent you from being renewed, an intent to mislead does not exist and no crime has been committed.

No Interference With Official Function

If your false statement is not intended to have a misleading effect, you cannot be held liable for unsworn falsification.  For example, if you are purchasing a firearm and in your application you write your nickname jokingly in the “name” column, this is unlikely to interfere with official function or mislead the public official.

Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Unsworn Falsification Lawyer at McKinney Law

If you’ve been charged with unsworn falsification to authorities, the prospect of criminal litigation may be rather frightening.  The penalties for unsworn falsification can be significant and life-altering, depending on the circumstances.  We urge those who have been charged to contact an experienced Pittsburgh unsworn falsification lawyer at McKinney Law for assistance with their defense.

Here at McKinney Law, our attorneys have experience handling a range of criminal defense litigation, including unsworn falsification litigation.  We believe in client-focused legal representation.  Unlike many other firms, we provide timely responses to all inquiries (within 24 hours) and are willing to schedule after-hours consultations.

Call (412) 520-3301 or send us a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation.