Hyattsville, MD asked in Domestic Violence for Maryland

Q: I’m subpoena to court as a witness for domestic violence case I don’t want to testify

How can I get out of it I’m the victim

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: If you are married to the defendant, you can assert your spousal privilege not to testify against your souse. It must be asserted in person at court, and you must tell the prosecutor of your intentions, and they will have you state in open court before the judge that you are asserting the privilege. You can ony assert the privilege one time in a case involving the same spouse. You will be asked to confirm that you have not been threatened by anyone in order to get you to assert the privilege, and that you are doing so of your own voluntary free act. Then you will be released from the subpoena. If you are not married to the defendant, then you cannot legally ignore th subpoena or lie under oath. You can tell the prosecutor that you do not wish to appear or testify, but it is not up to you to decide whether you will or will not appear. If you ignore a properly served subpoena, the prosecutor could request that the judge issue a body attachment and have the Sheriff come and take you into custody and bring you to the court. That is actually not too common of an occurrence, and in many cases when the victim fails to appear, the prosecutor simply drops the case against the defendant. However, that result cannot be predicted with certainty, and you risk a body attachment if you do not go. If there were weapons involved in the assault or injuries that required hospitalization, the chances are greater that a body attachment will issue because the prosecutor will not want to drop such serious charges against a dangerous violent defendant.

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