If my daughter was the victim of assault, domestic violence and attempted rape by her ex-boyfriend and has been subpoenaed to court, does she need an attorney?

She filed a police report, received a EPO and then a DVO. She provided her testimony via statement as well as video. Her ex-boyfriend was arrested but is now out on bail. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for next week and my daughter has received a subpoena to appear as a witness in the Commonwealth verses her ex-boyfriend. He has hired an attorney to represent him. Should I hire a female attorney to appear with my daughter so that she has someone to protect her rights?

Asked on April 17, 2014 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If she's been subpoened as a witness, then she is not facing any legal threat or liability (so long as she does not perjure herself, or lie, on the stand)--she is not a party to the case. As a witness, she cannot have her own attorney in the room or during her testimony: only the lawyers for the state (the prosecutor) and the defendant (her ex-boyfriend's lawyer) will be there. Therefore, an attorney will not necessarily help her during the testimony she gives pursuant to the subpoena.

That said, there are other issues to consider: should she sue him, for example? Should she get a protective or restraining order? For those issues, it would make sense to get an attorney who can advise her.

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