As a victim, can I be made to testify?

I am the victim of a kidnapping. It’s a sexual assault and attempted malicious assault case and they are trying to make me testify when I don’t want to. Mentally, I cannot handle this. I’ve known this person for 9 years and they’ve never done anything like this before and I know that it’s not who they are. The person needs mental help and drug help. I do not want to testify against them. What do I do?

Asked on September 27, 2017 under Criminal Law, West Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can be subpeonaed to testify. If you re, then this is an order of the court and must be obeyed. If you don't appear, you can be held in contempt and face fines and possibly even jailtime. Once you take the stand you will have to testify unless doing so would implicate you in this (or any other) crime. In that case you can "plead the 5th". The fact is that, whther or not to prosecute a ctime is up to the state, not the alleged victim. 

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