My daughter was arrested for assaulting me, do I have any options to help me to not testify against her?

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My daughter was arrested for assaulting me, do I have any options to help me to not testify against her?

She grabbed me by the throat. I am now being summoned to court as a victim/witness. This will indefinitely destroy my relationship with my daughter if I do this.

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You did not mention whether or not you were subpeonaed to testify. If not, then you don't need to appear in court, although you will in all liklihood then be subpeonaed. If you did receive one then you can't not just show. A subpoena is an order from a court requiring a witnesses appearance. If you ignore it, you can be held in contempt and a warrant for failure to appear can be issued for your arrest; you can also face fines and/or jailtime.

Additionally, many times victims try to refuse to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination). However, this right doesn't apply simply in your case; it only applies if your own testimony would cause you to incriminate yourself (which does not seem to be the case from the facts presented). A witness who refuses to testify can be held in contempt of court and jailed and/or fined.

At this point, you may want to consult directly with a criminal law attorney. After you go over all of the details of your situation, they can best advise you further.


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