did I break the law?

I own my own house, but I said under I do not own a home. Did I perjur myself, because a home is a construct thought?

Did you make your statement under oath?


Um - nice try?

Courts are getting creative, but I don’t think there is yet one in the US which would agree that, for purposes of that question, there is distinction, nor will it buy any theory you would care to argue.

Unless, of course, the flag has fringe AND an eagle on the pole, in which case any crackpot idea will work.

So I might go to jail ?

Under oath?! You’re kidding. You have to be kidding.
Are you really prepared to argue “A house is not a home” at law?

Be prepared to show how the question has no relevance to the matter at hand, because you sure as hell ain’t going convince anyone that there is a functional or economic difference.

IANAL, but I’d love to follow any proceedings arising from the point.

I used poor judgment. Is there any way for me to get out of this?

If this is likely to become a matter of law, right now is the time to shut up and ask the mods to delete this thread.
From a practical point, that question is (most commonly, in my experience*) used to determine creditworthiness or stability in the community.
Answering NO should harm only you; had you sad YES when you did not own your dwelling, someone else might be harmed and want to cause you trouble.

    • enough disclaimers there, Dopers?

How to mitigate: contact whoever asked the question and explain you think you checked the wrong box on one of hte questions, and could they please correct it.
If this is a consumer credit application, a phone call followed up with a letter re-capping the call.
Anything more serious, open with the letter and have the entire conversation in writing.
Again, IANAL, let alone one in your jurisdiciton, let alone your lawyer.

Was this voir dire in jury selection? If so, were you impaneled (selected)?
If yes/yes - note to judge
If yes/no - you probably dodged a bullet. I’d keep quiet and hope. You might well be advised to do otherwise by competent counsel.

To advise you about what to do now, please give us the context in which the question was asked.

Do you have a mortgage?

I think there is a difference between a house and a home to the extent that an unfinished, unfurnished or otherwise not suitable to be lived-in structure is not a home.

With a mortgage, esp one with 100% financing it would be a stretch to say one “owned” it when they have zero equity.

Having said that, you probably should have said “yes”.

Similarly, if you own a house but rent it out to other people, while renting a living space for yourself at some other location from someone else, you could probably be OK splitting hairs like that.

That’s more tortured. When you have a mortgage, you own your house in every constructive way (e.g. if the value of your home goes up, you’re not sharing that with the bank). The bank just owns the right to take away your house if you don’t pay your debt on time. While you’re in good standing on your loan, the bank owns 0% of your house, even if you owe them more money than the house is worth.


Repeat after me: “Its a fair cop but society is to blame.”

If you testify under oath there is not going to be anyone who will parse over every word of your testimony for quibbling and half truths. No one has time for that. If it was just one of many background questions I doubt you will have any problem. If the fact that you own a house is an important part of your testimony you may have a problem. Impossible to tell without hearing the context of your testimony.

I disagree with this. I would argue that if your name is on the title in the files at city hall, it’s a stretch to claim that you don’t own it.

Moderator Action

Legal advice belongs in IMHO.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

It would be useful to get an answer to this question.

First: the OP should stop making admissions on a public message board and speak to an attorney.

Of interest on the general subject, the Virginia Court of Appeals just recently decided a case that turned on somewhat similar facts: William Henry was convicted of forgery and perjury for events that arose when he signed a form requesting a public defender. The court clerk filled out the form in response to Henry’s answers; he said that he was receiving SNAP assistance and had no assets. Specifically, the clerk questioned Henry, and then wrote a “0” on the line that asked for the value of any “… cash on hand, bank accounts, any other assets, real estate, motor vehicles, and other personal property.” Henry signed the form, which warned that the statements above were made under oath, and any false statement could be a violation of law. With respect to the question regarding real estate, the clerk testified that she always asks someone “if they own a home or are buying a home.”

However, Henry did own real estate – he had been given a parcel of real estate from his parents.

The Court of Appeals reversed his forgery conviction – while they acknowledged he engaged in a “false making” of a document as prohibited by the forgery statute, they concluded that “[w]here the ‘falsity lies in the representation of facts, not in the genuineness of execution,’ it is not forgery.”

However, they upheld his conviction for perjury. While it’s true that Henry did not attempt to argue that a home is a construct thought, it seems clear that at least in Virginia, conduct along these lines is potentially criminal.

Again: the OP should shut up, stop posting public admissions, and talk privately to an attorney.

Perhaps he can call Burt Bacharach as an expert witness.