If I was a witness in a domestic violence situation and have now been subpoenaed to appear in court but don’t want to go, what can I do?

I gave my statement to the cops that day and now got a subpoena to appear in court. On the day of the incident I told the police that I didn’t want to be involved. What is the worst case that could happen if that day I had a couple of drinks and don’t remember clearly what happened.

Asked on November 8, 2014 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If it is believed that you are lying in court (for example, now testifying that you "can't rememer" when you previously gave a statement), you could face prosecution for perjury (lying in court or under oath). If you simply refuse to testify, you could face contempt of court (ignoring lawful court orders or blatantly disrespecting the court). In either event, you could face fines and/or  jail time.

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