How doI not testify against my boyfreind in court without getting myself in trouble?

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How doI not testify against my boyfreind in court without getting myself in trouble?

My boyfriend is currently in jail for felonious assault, abduction, an tampering with evidence. I am the victim. He has been in there for 5 months and the trial is on 02/09. They offered him 6 years for a plea bargain. However, I don’t feel that he deserves that punishment and I have changed my mind. I was just not going to go to the trial but a sheriff came today and gave my son a subpoena for me. But he did not sign for anything nor was it given directly to me. How do I handle this situation without getting myself in trouble an getting his charges dropped?

Asked on February 1, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have a couple of issues here. 

First - Can I drop the charges?  A victim cannot drop criminal charges only the prosecutor can do that.  And a case may be prosecuted over a victim's objection.  While the states case would be stronger with their testimony, if there is other evidence to support the charge, the case may still go forward.  Additionally, prosecutors are often very unwilling to simply drop these types of cases because they do not want to send the message to offenders that if they can intimidate or otherwise unduly influence a victim, they can get away with what they have done. 

Second - Must I testify?  Since you've been subpoenaed you must show up to court.  A subpoena is a direct order from the court for appearance at the place and time stipulated.  If a subpoena is validly served and you ignore it you can he held in contempt of court. A warrant for FTA (failure to appear) can be issued for your arrest and you c can face fines and/or imprisonment.

Third - Was the subpoena properly served? Typically, in most states, as long as the person who actually receives service of the subpoena is a member of the subpoenaed individual's household, is legally competent, and is 16 years of age or over, they can be validly served.

The fact is that this is a serious and complex case.  You should directly consult with a criminal law attorney licensed in your state for a fuller explanation of your rights/duties in this matter.


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