Do I have to testify in court as a witness if I haven’t received a subpoena but I gave a witness statement to the authorities?

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Do I have to testify in court as a witness if I haven’t received a subpoena but I gave a witness statement to the authorities?

I had witnessed an aggravated assault in a local college, and had given a witness statement to the authorities when they arrived. However, I am being told by the victim that I will have to testify in court. I have not received a subpoena as of yet. I am frightened of taking the stand and do not wish to testify.

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless subpoenaed to testify, you would not have to do so. However, once subpoenaed, you will have to appear in court and testify, or else potentially face sanctions--including potentially imprisonment, such as for contempt of court. If you are subpoenaed, express your fears/concerns to the prosecution and, if they don't respond, the court--it may be that they will let you not testify, if they have enough other evidence; or can arrange some level of protection for you.


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