Friday, November 1, 2013

The power of the affidavit, even in everyday life.

An affidavit is submitted in state court. A declaration is submitted in federal court, but they are the same thing. They are sworn testimony, subject to the penalty of perjury. Both support a plaintiff or defendant's position. The person who signed the affidavit [or declaration] must testify consistently in a courtroom with what the written testimony in the affidavit says.

An affidavit does not need to be submitted in connection with a lawsuit. It can be submitted independently of a lawsuit to give more credibility to someone's position. For instance, let's say you are in a dispute with a company over one of its products, and you claim the product is defective. The company is skeptical about your claim, and thinks you may have caused the defect. To support your position, you could offer to submit an affidavit stating that you did not cause the defect and it was present when you purchased the product. This adds immense credibility to your position, because this is what you would say if the issue found its way into court. And as the affidavit would say, if you are lying, you could get into a lot of trouble.

Conversely, if you own a company and are skeptical about a customer's claim, ask them to submit an affidavit with their version of events. If they are reticent, they may not be telling the truth, although it is possible they just do not understand what an affidavit is. If they do not have an issue with it, it suggests that they may be telling the truth.

An affidavit is simply the adult version of a kid telling another kid, "I swear on ________'s life, that this is true." Contrary to popular belief, an affidavit does not always to have to be notarized. In many jurisdictions, including federal court, it only needs to include language like the following above the signature: "I certify under penalty of perjury and pursuant to the laws of the state of ______, that the foregoing is true and correct."

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