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

Answers:

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, http://attorneypages.com


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