I was in a car accident 16 years ago in Texas. I was driving my father’s car and rear ended someone in a parking lot. It was very minor and it resulted in only scratches on each car. The man I rear ended tried to sue my father’s car insurance company for more money. He claimed serious back injury. I had to fly to Texas for the trial and act as witness for the insurance company. They proved in court the man was lying about his back injury. They had video proof of him lifting heavy objects and such, so he received nothing. But my question is, when I hit the man, I made the statement, “I’m so sorry, my foot slipped and I hit the gas instead of the brake.” I was very upset and flustered when I said this, and then later forgot I said it. The court appearance was four years after the accident, and I didn’t remember this until my lawyer said they planned to ask me if I had said it. I got scared and lied and told my lawyer I never said that. When they asked me while I was on the stand, I lied again and said I never said it. Even though the man was proven a liar and the case was dismissed, can I still be penalized for perjury? Is there a statute of limitations on it since it was so long ago?
It’s understandable that you were concerned about what the jury would think about the statement you made at the time of the accident. People often testify in contradiction to earlier statements. Sometimes, it is because a person honestly remembers events differently. Other times, a person is trying to cover up what they think is damaging evidence. Juries and judges hear a great deal of conflicting evidence and have to determine what is credible and what is not. Had you told the truth, your attorney could have ‘softened the blow” and the other side wouldn’t have been able to suggest that you were lying. In general, it’s much better to tell the truth, even when it doesn’t appear to be in your favor.
With that said, the statute for limitations for perjury in Texas is two years. As long as you never repeated your perjured testimony to a court after the trial, you probably cannot be penalized for this perjured statement.