If a wife is in the home where the husband is committing crimes and he is arrested and she knew about it, would

she be protected from arrest?

Would she get into trouble at all? Who does the anti-marital acts privilege protect?

Asked on February 15, 2019 under Family Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) She would only be criminally liable if she assisted him in some way or participated in some way, since there is no affirmative obligation in criminal law to stop another person from committing crimes. But assisting or participating could include buying supplies or items he uses to commit crimes, knowing he will or may use them that way; driving him to/from crimes; lying about where he was or what he was doing, to help him cover up what he did; concealing stolen goods or tools/items used to commit crimes; etc. And receiving stolen goods, knowing they are stolen (e.g. taking or accepting money from him which you know or suspect was stolen or was payments for commiting crimes) is itself a crime. So just being married or living in the home with him will not make you liable, but there are many things which, if done with knowledge or suspicion of his crimes, may be considered criminal themselves or may make you his accomplice.
2) Civil law does not work quite like criminal law, so if you knew he was going to commit a crime and didtn't take reasonable steps (e.g. calling the police) to stop them, you could potentially be sued by his victims.
3) The privilege means you don't have to testify against him, nothing more.

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