What to do if I’ve been subpoenaed to show up to court to testify against my boyfriend/child’s father on a DV charge that he received but don’t want to testify?

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What to do if I’ve been subpoenaed to show up to court to testify against my boyfriend/child’s father on a DV charge that he received but don’t want to testify?

The statement I made to the police was out of spite and anger and I now regret it. I do not wish to testify. Is there anyway I can plea the 5th if I am called to the stand? What options do I have so he doesn’t get in trouble and I don’t get in trouble for refusing to testify?

Asked on January 7, 2016 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

While some victims attempt to refuse to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination), this right can't be invoked simply because the witness does not want to testify. This right only applies if their own testimony would in some way cause them to incriminate themselves. Further, a witness who refuses to testify can be held in contempt of court and arrested, which can include jail and/or fines.


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