can someone be forced to give testimony at deposition or at trial? Can you refuse ?

money missing at a company…you said you gave to someone at the company. the company accuses the person you said you gave the monry to. now he sues the company for slander. do you have to give testimony and or take the stand? how do you go about refusing ?

Asked on June 15, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There are very, very few reasons good enough to get out of giving testimony if you have been subpoenaed.  You will almost certainly have to take the witness stand and be sworn in, and then, to refuse to answer a question, you would have to claim what the law refers to as a privilege not to answer.  Some privileges include those for doctors, nurses and (in most states) mental health workers and their patients, for lawyers and their clients, in many states for spouses who can't be forced to testify against each other. I'm not seeing how any of those could work for you in this situation.

The only privilege that would fit into this situation would be self-incrimination, under the Fifth Amendment.  If your story about having given the missing money to this person wasn't true, then you might be very interested in this one.  But before you do or say anything to anyone else about this, please, talk to an attorney in your area! One place to find the lawyer you need is our website,

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.