IfI was served with a subpoena doI have to testify?

I was served with a subpoena on a domestic violence case. My girlfriend is the accused and I am the victim. I told the cops that I didn’t even want her to go to jail but they took her anyway. Do I have to testify against her against my will?

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A subpoena is a direct order from a court for your appearance at the time and place specified. If you ignore a validly served subpoena and you ignore it, you can he held in contempt. Consequently, a warrant for failure to appear (FTA) can be issued for your arrest; you can face fines and/or jail time.

Some victims/witnesses try to refuse to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination). However, this right can not be invoked merely because the witness doesn't want to testify. This right only applies if their testimony would cause them to incriminate themselves. Additionally, a witness who refuses to testify can also be held in contempt of court and arrested and fined/jailed.


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