what would happen if i did not appear to testify in a murder trial?

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what would happen if i did not appear to testify in a murder trial?

I received a subpoena to testify in a
murder trial as a witness. I am unable
to go to the trial. What would happen
to me if i did not go?

Asked on March 8, 2016 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that a subpeona is an order to appear in court. Accordingly, failure to comply with it can result in your being held in contempt which can lead to fines and/or jailtime. Additionally, if you go but refuse to testify, you can be held in contempt and face the same penalities as not showing up at all. Sometimes, such penalties are not enforced in lesser cases but for a murder case, they may well be. If, however, testfying may implicate you in the murder, then you can plead the 5th and not have to incriminate yourself in the crime. Otherwise, I'm afraid that you must go and testify. If you have any further concerns on this matter, you should consult directly with a local criminal law attorney.


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