What will happen if I was subpeonaed as witness in criminal OWI case against a friend?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What will happen if I was subpeonaed as witness in criminal OWI case against a friend?

I was the sober driver for my friend a couple months ago. I drove his vehicle and at the end of the night, I brought him to town, parked on street down from his home. Handed him his keys and walked to my father’s house. My friend got stopped by an officer while walking home. He was arrested for OWI and upon arrest was found to be in possession of an unused syringe. The next morning while he was in jail they impounded his car and found marijuana small amount and bottle of alcohol that had been opened and had some gone. I was unaware of any of these things I have been supbeonaed to testify at deposition. I need to know if I can be subject to criminal charges of possession or paraphernalia or open bottle since I was driving the car. Does that make me responsible or liable for the contents of his car by driving it?

Asked on October 1, 2018 under Criminal Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are not automatically liable for the car's contents, but if the evidence shows that the contents of a car you were driving were yours--for example, if your friend testifies that those were yours, not his, and he is believable--then you could be charged. Since you have been subpoenaed to testify, you should consult with and retain a criminal defense attorney NOW, before you testify, who can confidentially advise you as to how to testify and when and how (if ever) you may wish to "plead the Fifth" (refuse to answer a specific questions on grounds that the answer may incriminate you).

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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