If I have been served a subpoena to testify in a criminal case, do I have to testify?

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If I have been served a subpoena to testify in a criminal case, do I have to testify?

I know I have to show up.

Asked on April 29, 2013 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may only refuse to testify if you can assert a valid privilege. The main ones are the 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination--which means that if your testimony would tend to expose YOU to criminal charges, you could invoke the 5th; the spousal privilege to not testify against a spouse; and the lawyer-client and doctor-patient privileges. Other than as above, yes, you would need to testify or else be subject to punishment by the court.


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