Does a wife have to testify against husband in domestic violence trial, if subpoena was issued? 14 Answers as of April 11, 2013

My husband is charged with Domestic Violence for slapping me in the face - that was it. Police were called by my daughter, so someone had to go to jail from what I understand. A no-contact order was issued, for two months I lost my husband. The prosecutor refuses to offer a plea, despite my writing letters to the court and prosecutor that this is being way overblown. The judge recently lifted the no-contact order when a trial date was set. His court-appointed lawyer is almost no help, by the way. She did advise that if I ignore the trial subpoena the case will likely be dropped, or the prosecutor might offer the "no record" deal which includes probation. I am now being subpoenaed - but the officer so far hasn't come when I'm home. Should I try to avoid the subpoena? If I do get served, should I miss the trial like his attorney suggested? How much trouble would it be for me? I wouldn't mind fines, but can't go to jail or I'd lose my job. Lastly, if I attend the trial, can they make me testify against my own husband? (They do have my statement from the incident.) In case you're wondering, the reason we do not want this on his record is that he is an avid lifelong hunter. Domestic violence on his record would mean a ban on owning firearms. This is unacceptable so we are desperate! Any help is appreciated.

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
A wife can assert a marital privilege and nto be forced to testify against her husband.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 12/6/2012
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
If you are subpoenaed then you have to appear. However if you lied to the police then you can refuse to testily on the grounds that the testimony would incriminate you. The idea of a no record disposition is good since it keeps it off his record. If you do not obey the subpoena you could go to jail.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/5/2012
William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
If you are summoned to appear, then you risk contempt of court if you failed to do so. Spouses have a one time marital privilege in Maryland not to testify against each other when the other spouse is the defendant.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/5/2012
R. Jason de Groot, P.A
R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
You must go to court and testify. Often the prosecutor does not review the actual facts until very close to trial.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/4/2012
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
Absolutely. Time to hire a "real" lawyer for your husband my friend. c
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/4/2012
    The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
    The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
    Your lawyer committed a serious crime if she advised you not to appear in court. There are many cases where the victim does not want to prosecute the offense , but the lawyer cannot advise a witness not to appear. Perhaps you should find a partner that will not assault you, but that is your decision.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/4/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Yes if you received a subpoena, you must appear and testify truthfully. A slap is an assault and no man has the right to hurt you. You can have the greatest impact at sentencing by attending and making your self heard.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/4/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Yes, no privilege
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/4/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Based upon your information, the prosecutor does not need your testimony to convict your husband. If he did not, he would have offered a plea deal. Since you are being subpoenaed, your failure to show will mean that a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and you could be placed in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/3/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    In Utah, you do not have to testify against your husband. You have a "spousal privilege" to refuse to testify. If you need more information, you can and should hire your own lawyer, independent from your husband's lawyer, to help you or advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/3/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/11/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You can take the 5th which may help. If they give you immunity then they can't charge you if you started the fight.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/3/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    If you are not served with your subpoena, then the case will likey be continued until you are served. If you are served and don't show up, then the court may issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to honor the subpoena. If you show up and say what you told the officer was untrue, then you may be charged with perjury or fililng a false police report. If his attorney called you and suggested you miss the trial, by the way, could be construed as witness tampering. If he did slap you, for whatever reason, then he is guilty of domestic violence and he should have thought of the ramifications before he did it.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/3/2012
    Law Office of James Gandy
    Law Office of James Gandy | James Gandy
    The prosecution can require any person to appear as a witness (the only person that the prosecution cannot make testify is the defendant). Your question describes a very common issue - a domestic violence victim that no longer wishes to prosecute. Unfortunately, given the current existing laws, there is little that such a witness can do. They must testify.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/3/2012
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