Can spousal privilege be used in domestic violence cases?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can spousal privilege be used in domestic violence cases?

I don’t wish to testify against my husband for I am dealing with mental issues and am not sure if I started the fight. I may have pushed him first and it’s what caused him to do it back. There is no evidence he didpush me to cause bruising on my arm all they have is my statement as well as pictures of bruises at the sheriff’s office. He is on probation for the first time assault and was give first time offender. I don’t wish to proceed or testify. I want to drop the order that is in place. I did it in a emotional state but I know he wouldn’t hurt us.

Asked on August 8, 2018 under Criminal Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can voluntarily decide to not testify against your husband; he could not use the privilege without your consent, however, since the law does not let a suspected abuser "silence" the witness/victim that way. It is also possible that the authorities will agree to dismiss the case if you ask them to--at the least, it is worth asking, if that is what you want to do.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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