Livonia, MI asked in Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: Refuse to testify in a Felony assault case. How to avoid jail time for disobeying a subpoena to testify.

Boyfriend was charged with assault to great bodily harm Less then death or strangulation. 2 count of domestic violence, and interfering with communication causing harm or death. I don’t want him to go to prison. I don’t want to go to jail if or when I get subpoenaed for not testifying against him. I need to know what I can or can’t do.

1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: You are in a tough spot. This stopped being between just you and your boyfriend the minute the police were called.

It may be helpful in your analysis of what to do to know that in domestic violence cases, Michigan law (MCL 768.27c) allows the prosecutor to present your statements made to the police as evidence against your boyfriend with or without you being on the witness stand. Further, you alone do not put your boyfriend in prison. Your boyfriend's actions, his record, and any offers made by the prosecution and honored by the judge will determine whether he goes to prison.

If your boyfriend does not plea, there will likely be a trial for which you will be subpoenaed to testify. Whether you comply, ignore it, or try to recant your earlier statements, may not ultimately help your boyfriend, and will only expose you to possible incarceration.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.