Does my husband legally have to testify against me in a domestic violence case?

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Does my husband legally have to testify against me in a domestic violence case?

My husband was drunk (again), in a bad mood, and wanted to have sex with me. After many years of this type of abuse and pain, I refused and asked him to leave and go to a neighbor’s home. He refused and continued with his drunken tirade. Feeling threatened and standing up for myself , I grabbed a couple of kitchen knives (no intent to actually hurt, just getting my “point ” understood) and forced him to leave. He called and reported domestic violence. Once sober he realized he screwed up royally. I cannot allow him to not share responsibility for this matter. Should I speak with a criminal defense attorney? In Newaygo County, MI.

Asked on September 12, 2010 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From a practical standpoint, while the states case would be stronger with his testimony, if there is other evidence to support the charge the case may still go forward. However, if he is subpoenaed he must show up or risk being held in contempt of court and jailed.

That being said, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that he does not want to cooperate as leverage to obtain a favorable result for the defendant. More importantly any claim of self-defense may result in the charges being dismissed (although open your husband up to potential charges). 

Bottom line, yes, you should need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as to all of this.


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