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Unsworn Declarations in Texas

Unsworn Declarations in Texas

There are many instances under the law where an individual is required to swear to the accuracy of a statement or document.

The iteration of this which most people are familiar with is the oath a witness takes in court before testifying. In court rooms in movies and tv shows, you frequently hear something along the lines of: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” In reality, there are numerous situations where an individual might have to swear to a statement or document. Affidavits, certain court pleadings, notarized documents, and numerous others require that the person making the statement or verifying the accuracy of a document, must swear to the accuracy of the statement.

What may come as a surprise to many is that in certain situations, Texas law provides for an alternative under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Under Texas CPRC Section 132.001, an unsworn declaration may be used in lieu of a written sworn declaration, verification, certification, oath, or affidavit required by statute or required by a rule, order, or requirement adopted as provided by law. The statue provides that the unsworn declaration must be: 1) In writing; 2) Subscribed as true under the penalty of perjury; and 3) in substantially the form described in the statute. In some instances, an unsworn declaration can even replace the requirement for a notary.

The statute provides sample language for the unsworn declaration and provides that the form of the unsworn declaration must be substantially similar to the sample language provided.

“…(d) Except as provided by Subsections (e) and (f), an unsworn declaration made under this section must include a jurat in substantially the following form:

“My name is __________ _________ ____________, my

(First)             (Middle)          (Last)

date of birth is _________________, and my address is

_____________, ____________, _________, ____________,

(Street)                         (City)                          (State)               (Zip Code)

and __________________.  I declare  under  penalty  of perjury that the following is true and correct.

(Country)

Executed in _______ County, State of ________, on the ________ day of

________, ________.

(Month)         (Year)”

It is worth noting that the statute contains slightly different sample language for unsworn declarations made by employees of state agencies or political subdivisions in the performance of their job duties.

“…(f)  An unsworn declaration made under this section by an employee of a state agency or a political subdivision in the performance of the employee’s job duties, must include a jurat in substantially the following form:

“My name is __________ _________ ____________,

(First)             (Middle)             (Last)

and I am an employee of the following governmental agency: __________________.  I am executing this declaration as part of my assigned duties and responsibilities.  I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed in _____________ County, State of _________, on the _____ day of

________, _______.

(Month)         (Year)”

Unfortunately, an unsworn declaration cannot be used to replace every type of sworn statement.

Notably, an unsworn declaration cannot be used in place of an oath of office, or any oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public. Likewise, the unsworn declaration cannot be used in place of certain documents required to be filed with the county clerk such as lien documents or an instrument concerning real or personal property. While this provision doesn’t apply to every situation, it can certainly come in handy when you’re in a bind and a notary is nowhere to be found.

Please do not rely on this article as legal advice. We can tell you what the law is, but until we know the facts of your given situation, we cannot provide legal guidance. This website is for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. Information about our commercial and business litigation practice can be found here.

Brandon Morris is an experienced litigation attorney who has worked on a wide variety of cases, including personal injury claims, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) violations, family law, criminal law, and credit collections. Brandon joined the Randle Law Office team early in 2018.

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