It is common to have to sign legal documents and swear to their veracity while involved in a legal case. The reasons for having to sign a legal statement may vary, but it is important that people understand what kind of documents they are signing. There are often two kinds of documents used in these scenarios: affidavits and declarations. While the aforementioned documents may seem similar, there are differences that can make a difference for a case.
A declaration is also called a sworn statement or sworn declaration. This is a document that contains facts regarding a legal case and the person writing it signs a declaration at the end to indicate they swear to the truth of the statement, under penalty of perjury. The declaration can be used in court in order to present evidence or testimony. While the person signing it swears they are telling the truth, there is a missing aspect of a declaration that an affidavit makes up for. An affidavit is also a sworn statement, but it must be witnessed by a notary public or commissioner of oaths. This additional step is necessary to prove that the administration of the oath was sworn in the person writing the affidavit.
While both an affidavit and a declaration will include the same set of facts and the affiant and declarant both swear to the veracity of the statements, affidavits are sometimes used more frequently given that there is an additional layer of legal swearing in done by the notary public (or another authorized individual). If it is found that the author of the affidavit or declaration knowingly lied in the document, a perjury charge can be applied (with severe consequences).