Can the police go through the case without the complainant's testimony? 20 Answers as of February 15, 2013

My boyfriend punched me in the face and broke my nose. I went to the hospital where they took photos of me and I told them my boyfriend did it, but did not go into detail. I did not press charges. Exactly a week later, he threw a chair at my leg and that gave me a bruise. I called the police and pressed charges for the broken nose and the chair. We had to go to family court where I got a lawyer and she put together my medical records from hospital and photos, text messages showing how angry he was and sort of admitting punching me in the face I assume they'll use that evidence against him in his Civil case. I do not wish to press charges, but was subpoenaed to court. I'm going to plead the fifth to self incriminating questions and for others, say I do not recall. Can they really go through with the case without my testimony? Is the evidence solid? I really don't think so. How would you prove the evidence wrong?

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Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
They can proceed with the case even if you do not want to 'press charges.' In a crminal case it is the State which presses charges, not the victim. If you refuse to testify after being served with a valid subpoena, the Judge can hold you in contempt of court and actually send you straight to jail until you are ready to take the witness stand. In addition, the prosecution can likely use any statement you made to them before the trial. I think you really need to discuss the relationship you have with the boy friend with a wise person, such as a clergyman, or therapist. You might be just going back to be battered again and again, and that would be a tragedy for you, your family, and even your boyfriend, who definitely needs help, whether or not he needs punishment.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 2/15/2013
Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
You have a problem. You are an abused partner and need counseling. You need to understand that you are in an abusive relationship and that as long as you remain in that relationship, your life is going to suck. Do you really want to live like that? This will get worse. You will be injured again, and probably worse, if you stay in this relationship. Get out. Go to a safe house. Get counseling. It's the difference between a happy life at least; and a life at all at worst. The evidence is good. It's solid. The state should, and probably will, continue to prosecute this abuser even without your help. Should you try to do something incredibly stupid like recant your own testimony, you could be charged with a crime. And they'll continue to prosecute him, regardless. The state will make their case and get either a conviction or a plea. As they should. There is one thing worse that you could do besides try to recant your statements. That would be to stay in this relationship with this abuser. Get out. Now.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 2/14/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You sound like a very modern lady I would suggest that you cooperate with the police and DA and let nature take its course.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/14/2013
Michael J. Sgarlat Attorney at Law | Michael Joseph Sgarlat
I'd say you're in fear of the SOB of a coward that punched you in the face and threw a chair at you. If you were my daughter he would already be in the hospital and I'd be in jail. I think he should be taught a lesson and you need a better boyfriend. A "friend" doesn't abuse someone he loves. He's a coward for hitting you and certainly insecure in his manhood. He can't beat up a real man so he picks on a woman. What a loser. Prosecute the worm and get a Protective Order to keep him away. Take firearm lessons, buy a small caliber handgun and do not let him near you. If you hire a lawyer to help you invoke the fifth amendment, the judge can grant you immunity and make you testify or hold you in contempt for not taking the stand. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. If not who will be the next person he abuses? Your kids, mother, sister, little brothers. Find a new guy
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 2/14/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Yes, possibly. If you do not prosecute the jerk, then you deserve getting beaten up.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Christian F. Paul
    Law Office of Christian F. Paul | Christian F. Paul
    1. The prosecutor can go forward with the criminal case against your boyfriend if he or she believes crimes were committed and a conviction can be obtained, regardless whether you press charges. The evidence of the crimes will be evaluated by the judge and jury; some may be admissible, some may not. 2. Sitting on the witness stand and pretending not to recall the horrible things this man did to you is lying under oath, also known as perjury. That's a felony in California and not something anyone should advise you to do, or anything you should do. Answer the questions with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 3. Pleading the Fifth Amendment is proper only if your testimony could actually incriminate you. It's not a magical way to avoid testifying and telling the truth. Ask your lawyer about this before you testify. 4. You ought to dump this incredibly abusive bully at once and refuse ever to see or speak with him again. You do not deserve to be abused, and he has no right to break your bonesor touch you offensively in any way. What are you waiting for? This fellow might kill you one day, and even if he does not, he is never going to quit beating you up, but will only increase the violence and harm. Dump this jerk immediately, and forever. 5. You ought to testify against this criminal so that he receives punishment for his crimes. You could sue him, too, and you ought to consult with attorneys about this possibility. But at the least, quit thinking about how to help this jerk by not testifying and start thinking about protecting yourself and the public against him. Be brave. Be strong. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    "Pressing charges" is not your decision,. It is the government that prosecutes criminal cases. Depending on the state [CA, IN, KY] this case is prosecuted in, you may or may not have some options re your testimony. See a local attorney. As to asserting the 5th, probably not applicable and , if it was, the DA wants your BF more so would ask court for order granting you use immunity. That, again depending on the law where you are, might get you locked up for contempt until you do testify. As to the facts issue and your testimony, DA probably does not really care what you say on the stand. He can impeach you with any documents in which you have made statements about the abuse and can certainly use BF's statements. Personally, I have never understood why victims stay with and want to protect their abusers. You are better than this dude. Move on and forget him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP | Britany M. Engelman
    If the District Attorney decides to pursue the criminal charges, the case will go forward against your boyfriend, even without your testimony. The DA often takes the recommendation of the investigating officers in deciding whether or not to pursue a case, however the final determination will be up to the District Attorney's Office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Why in the world do you want this woman beater to not go to jail? That makes no sense whatsoever. You are just allowing him to continue to think that he can beat up on women with no repercussions. One day, you may not just be injured, you may be dead! Regardless, you probably don't have any grounds to plead the fifth because you are not being charged with a crime. If you say you don't remember, they can produce copies of the statements you gave and the pictures that were taken and ask if you still don't remember. While it is a long shot, I suppose there is a possibility that you could be charged with perjury for lying under oath.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Offices of Benjamin D. Pelton | Benjamin D. Pelton
    i think they can but if you don't cooperate with the prosecutor you can be charged. they will force you testify if you don't you will have a problem.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Sounds as if you are about to commit perjury, a FELONY.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    If I were the prosecutor, when you deny he did it, or say you do not remember, I would get out any prior statements you made and ask, "is this your statement?" You will have a choice of committing perjury, or admitting the statement. Then, I would put our statement into evidence. If you plead the 5th, I would grant you immunity from being charged with any crime in connection with your testimony, after which, you cannot plead the 5th. I believe the prosecutor will be able to get into evidence what happened based on your prior statements. If the boyfriend has an attorney, the attorney is in a better position to evaluate the case than I, but I would not be over confident if I were defending him. I think the jury will likely believe your prior statements than your denials in court.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    If they think a crime has committed they can use due diligence in proving same. If they can make out a case by circumstantial evidence they can.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    You are looking for legal advice, but since I have been practicing law for 40+ years now and have the benefit of dealing with a lot of abusers over that period of time, here is my non-legal advice for you: Your boyfriend is an abuser. Get out of the relationship before he does some serious harm to you beyond what he has already done.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    You can plead the fifth IF you have a valid reason to do so. But don't you dare say you don't remember if it isn't true, that would be perjury. You can tell his lawyer and the DA that you don't want him to be prosecuted and perhaps that will allow his lawyer to work out a more favorable deal. As to your other questions, yes, they can prosecute with you as a reluctant witness. I don't know if the evidence is solid, because I haven't seen it. Can't prove the evidence is wrong if it isn't wrong. The guy belongs in jail and needs to become your EX-boyfriend immediately.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Kevin J. Connolly
    Kevin J. Connolly | Kevin J. Connolly
    First of all, any responsible attorney has to tell you that your safety is the #1 priority. Yes, the police have enough to convict your master of some form or another of assault. This will not make him happy. So you don't testify against him and the likely result is he pleads out to attempted assault 3d and he walks, no time and not much probation either. And you think you're safe? You're not thinking correctly. Especially the broken nose. Hitting you in the face is SO NOT RIGHT. Much depends on how bad the ADA wants to zing your BF. If he got me p.o.'d (and I'll bet he's good at that) I might subpoena you to a grand jury session. You can't plead the Fifth to a grand jury, because you get legal immunity. What civil case? Does his family have money?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You can use the 5th amendment to protect you from giving testimony against yourself, but not against your boyfriend. If you tell the prosecutor that you won?t testify, they will probably offer your boyfriend a deal or drop the case. But, the bigger question is why you are protecting your boyfriend? and why he is still your boyfriend.? The pattern of abuse will never end unless you stand up for yourself and testify in court. You should probably move out and get a temporary protective order against him.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You are at risk for prosecution for making a false police report if you retract you statement, perjury if you do not testify truthfully. You are also at risk he will get out, come home and beat and abuse you even more as you are essentially by your actions telling him it s okay to do so. End the relationship, tell the truth and find yourself another.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The evidence is solid and likely will not need your testimony. If you lie on the stand ("I do not recall") you could face a fine or even jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/13/2013
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