An affidavit is a written statement made under oath, verified by a notary public. It is a statement in which a promise is made about the veracity of the contents of the statement. It is supposed to be a statement of fact or truth. It is considered on the same level as testimony given in court.
Reasons for Affidavits
The purpose of affidavits varies, but may be for some of the following reasons: when a policeman needs a search warrant; as support for a legal motion; and to certify that a particular performance was completed. Though not accepted in court because written instruments cannot be cross-examined, they are nevertheless referred to in legal proceedings as statements of truth until called into question.
Everyday Forms of Affidavits
Affidavits are commonly used for fairly common events, for example when a person produces a notarised document in traffic court or provides a real estate document that is signed before a notary. In this case, the person is verifying that the contents of what they are signing is truthful and swear that it is true on paper.
Penalties for False Affidavits
Because affidavits are statements of truth, sworn to in writing, a person who knowingly completes an affidavit containing false information can be found in contempt. The penalties can be anything from fines to jail time. Depending upon what damages their false statement produces, they can also be taken to civil court and sued for the losses they caused another to incur.
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