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
Answered
  • 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.

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