Adults sometimes have difficulty making friends. Unlike children who have a ready group of pals at school, adults tend to have limited access to potential buddies. Still, for adults, having a good friend or group of friends is important for a variety of reasons. Lying to protect your friends, though, could land you in legal jeopardy.
As you know, not all untruths are the same. While little white ones generally cause no harm, other lies carry significant consequences. If one of your friends commits a crime, giving false information to a police officer, detective, judge or jury may be a big mistake. Here are some ways lying for a friend may harm you.
You become an accessory after the fact
Criminal law in the United States does not only hold those who commit crimes responsible. On the contrary, people who help in planning or covering up a crime often face substantial consequences. If an officer is investigating your friend, and you lie about his or her whereabouts or other relevant matters, you may become an accessory after the fact.
You mislead investigators
Detectives know how to investigate crimes. They also usually receive training on determining if a person is lying. If you mislead investigators by providing untrue information, prosecutors may charge you with making false statements. If your lies interfere with the investigation, you may face prosecution for obstructing justice.
You commit perjury
If you are trying to protect your friend from criminal liability, you may have dozens of opportunities to bend the truth or outright lie. If you fail to tell the truth when you are under oath, though, you commit perjury. As such, every time you take an oath, you must be sure you provide the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Because the public has an interest in uncovering criminal activity, penalties for providing misinformation are often stiff. Therefore, even though a good friend can be hard to find, lying to protect your relationships may be a big mistake.