Las Vegas, NV asked in Domestic Violence for Nevada

Q: In a domestic violence situation can they make the spouse talk if she isn’t wanting to go forward with the case?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Dale A. Hayes Jr.
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  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in Nevada

A: They ("the Court") can subpoena her to trial. If she is properly served and fails to appear they can hold her in contempt for not appearing or they can issue a "material witness warrant" for her arrest. Yes, they can arrest her and hold her until she testifies. However, I do not believe the foregoing answers your question. First, her wish that the prosecution not "go forward" is irrelevant. The plaintiff in a criminal domestic violence prosecution is the government, not the victim. In fact, most DV victims do not wish to see the defendant prosecuted (especially after the incident in question).

Next, nobody can "make" anybody "talk." If she obeys the subpoena and appears but refuses to answer any questions, she will only be subjecting herself to the Court's contempt power (up to $500 in fines and 25 days in jail). Think of Barry Bonds and Greg Anderson's refusal to testify in the BALCO case. The prosecution can use any prior statement she made to impeach her and/or charge her with perjury if she changes her sworn statement (or charge her with filing a false police report). However, is she simply shows and refuses to testify she only faces contempt charges.

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