Do I have to testify against my husband?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have to testify against my husband?

The state is telling me I have to testify on behalf of the state which would mean I have to testify against my

husband. I gave them a statement 3 years ago because the crime he is being accused of involved my vehicle and I was the first person to see him after the crime took place. If I do not have to testify what steps do I have to take so that they cannot force me to do so? What should I say to prevent me from having to? I was told if it happened before being married I still have to testify. This is preventing me from being in his trial because now I’m a witness.

Asked on June 21, 2019 under Criminal Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The "spousal privilege" would prevent you from testifying if you only became aware of the facts during marriage: the privilege protects the marital relationship by keeping confidential what is learned during marriage. But it does not apply to things seen, or you were told or otherwise learned, before you were married. If they want you to testify about something you knew of before marriage, you must testify.

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.

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