Do I have to testify if I have been subpoenaed to testify against my husband?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I have to testify if I have been subpoenaed to testify against my husband?

I got a subpoena sent to me in the mail against my husband’s upcoming bench trial. He was charged with domestic assault against me by the state. I am on probation and don’t want to risk violating it by not testifying against him. Do I have to testify against him?

Asked on December 6, 2016 under Criminal Law, Missouri


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since have you been subpoenaed, you can't just choose not to go to court in this matter. The fact is that a subpoena is a direct judicial order requiring your appearance. If you ignore it, you can he held in contempt and a warrant for failure to appear can be issued for your arrest, at which point you can face fines and/or jail time. While, some victims try to refuse to testify by invoking the Fifth Amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination), this right doesn't apply just because a witness doesn't want to testify. This right only applies if their own testimony would cause them in some way to incriminate themselves. Additionally, a witness who refuses to testify can also be held in contempt and jailed and/or fined. Further, in domestic violence cases, many spouse's think that they can invoke "spousal privilege", which is the right of one spouse not to have to give testimony against the other spouse. However, most states have amended their spousal privilege statute to cmake an exception for DV victims. In other words, they can be compelled to give testimony against their spouse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption