If I was subpoenaed as a witness against my ex, can I plead the 5th?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I was subpoenaed as a witness against my ex, can I plead the 5th?

My ex was arrested on criminal threats charges that I filed against him but I was not aware that they were gonna make me testify because when I asked them and they said they wouldnt need me to testify. I don’t want to testify as they have my statement and text messages; I emailed them.

Asked on May 19, 2018 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you can only "plead the 5th" (that is, take your Constitutionally guaranteed right against self-incrimination) if your testimony would implicate YOU of criminal actions. You cannot refuse to testify against an ex for *any* other reason other than your own self-incrimination (that your testimony could help result in you facing criminal charges or conviction).

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