What happens if I don’t testify against my husband in a domestic violence case

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What happens if I don’t testify against my husband in a domestic violence case

The state picked up assuredly four
charges on my husband and I don’t
want to testify.I am the victim and
have been subpoena by the
prosecuter

Asked on March 22, 2016 under Criminal Law, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A subpoena is a direct order from a court requiring you to appear. If you ignore it, you can be held in contempt and a warrant for failure to appear can be issued for your arrest. Additionally, you can also face fines and/or incarceration.
Some victims try to refuse to testify by invoking their Fifth Amendment rights (i.e. the right against self-incrimination). However, this right doesn't apply merely because a witness does not want to testify. Also, this right applies only if their testimony would cause them to incriminate themselves in either the crime in question or another crime. As with a witness who fails to show up to court, a witness who refuses to testify can also be held in contempt and fined and/or jailed.
Furthermore, in domestic violence cases, many spouse's think that they can invoke "spousal privilege". This is the right of one spouse not to have to give testimony against the other spouse. However, most states have amended their spousal privilege statutes to make an exception for DV victims since many are intimidated by their abuser not to testify. Therefore, in these cases, one spouse can be made to testify against the other.


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