What if I show up for my husband’s court and I am listed as the domestic violence victim but I refuse to testify?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What if I show up for my husband’s court and I am listed as the domestic violence victim but I refuse to testify?

Can I refuse to testify against my husband and not get into trouble myself?

Asked on November 17, 2012 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Oregon, like most states, have marital immunity rules which allow one spouse to refuse to testify against another spouse--- however, the exception to this rule is in criminal cases where one spouse is the victim.  So technically, you cannot refuse to testify.  However, many victims do and when the prosecutor learns that the victim is not cooperative, they will sometimes drop the charges if the only evidence is the statement of the victim/spouse.  If there are other witnesses to the assault, your refusal to testify would not affect their case and they could still move forward, despite your lack of cooperation. 

Many victims get upset when the state continues with charges over their objection.  However, many prosecutors will still go forward because they are concerned that the offending spouse is trying to manipulate or intimidate the victim spouse and it's up to them to put a stop the circle of violence.  Instead of refusing to testify or to lie on the stand about what happened and subject yourself to a contempt or perjury charge, go talk to the prosecutor.  Often, if they understand this is an isolated incident and that the parties are going through counseling to work through issues, they will be more likely to give your husband a conditional dismissal based on his efforts to improve.  If the prosecutor won't agree to visit with you, then go talk to your husband's attorney.  They, in turn, can help communicate your feelings about the case to the prosecution, judge, or jury.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption