If I just got subpeoned as a witness at a re-trial but I don’t want to testify, what will happen if I don’t?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2012

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If I just got subpeoned as a witness at a re-trial but I don’t want to testify, what will happen if I don’t?

About 7 years ago I took a plea and testified against my co-defendants.

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Criminal Law, Indiana


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Prosecutors in most states have the power to issue a "witness detainer" against a witness who refuses to testify and refuses to appear at a trial where they were subpoenaed by the State or prosecution. A witness detainer is where the the person who is supposed to testify can be locked up in jail during the duration of the trial or the portion of the trial where they are needed to testify to ensure that they will appear and testify. While this may be a drastic measure, the State can always attempt to have you arrested and locked up if you refuse to testify and fail to show up in court. If you show up to court but refuse to testify, the prosecutor cannot force you to talk on the stand, but they can call you to the witness stand and the judge can order you to answer the prosecutors questions or else be held in contempt of court.


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