Q: Can I refuse to testify against my husband?
My husband was arrested earlier this year for domestic battery against me. He was released on his own recognizance a couple of days after the incident. I testified in my husband's favor during his initial hearing and the judge, very kindly, let him go with a condition to follow a substance abuse evaluation as he was intoxicated when things happened. He has followed through with his therapies and medication and I do not want to testify against him in trial. I have been subpoena by the prosecutor and I would like to know if I can refuse to show up. My husband's attorney advised that she would not accept a plea deal if I was not going to show up in court. Therefore, she did not accept the plea deal and now he is facing trial. However, I was not counting on the prosecution sending a subpoena, and I do not want to get in trouble for not obeying it. My husband recently talked to his attorney and she said that she did not believe i could get in trouble for not showing up. Please advise
A: You have been subpoenaed and are required to appear in court. If you do not show, the prosecutor can request a body attachment where the court would issue a warrant for your arrest. You would stay in jail until you were brought in front of the judge who could compel you to testify. There is a spousal privilege, but that applies to communication between you and your husband. It does not cover actions he is alleged to have committed against you.
Have you spoken with Victim Assistance at the Prosecutor's Office to advise them you do not want to testify against your husband? You should consider hiring a local criminal defense attorney to protect your interests.
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