In criminal court, what does the law say about a spouse testifying for or against their spouse? 11 Answers as of February 26, 2013

Can a spouse be forced to testify for or against their spouse?

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William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
Ordinarily, spousal privilege prevents a spouse from having to testify against his or her spouse. In Maryland, there is an exception in domestic violence cases, which means that one time spousal privilege applies, and thereafter it does not. An attorney can assist you with evaluating the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. If you were to be found guilty, then an attorney can assist you with presenting mitigation, elocution, and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 2/26/2013
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
IN GA there is no more martial privilege. Other states may still recognize it.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/18/2013
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
There are cases where a spouse cannot be compelled to testify against the other due to the compelling interest of not disrupting marital harmony by having to pit husband against wife. However, there are cases where the public interest precludes this. One example is in criminal cases where one spouse has allegedly harmed the other spouse or their children. In that incident a spouse cannot refuse to testify on spousal privilege.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/18/2013
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
In spousal abuse and child abuse cases the answer is yes in Michigan. In other cases there is a spousal privilege. This means the defendant can object to the testimony of their spouse.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/17/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
Unless the spouse is the main witness in a case, such as domestic violence, she does not have to testify, and can use the husband-wife privilege to not testify. If she is a complainant in a domestic violence case, she can be forced to testify against a defendant.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/17/2013
    The Law Office Of Sunny Eaton | Sunny Eaton
    Yes, there is no marital privilege in TN.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    In Utah, a spouse cannot be forced to testify. Tell the court that you wish to invoke your "spousal privilege" to refuse to testify. If you are uncomfortable doing this, or you want to have possible consequences explained to you, you should hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Patrick Earl Attorney
    Patrick Earl Attorney | Patrick Owen Earl
    In criminal court a spouse can be subpoena'ed to court and asked to testify against his/her spouse. Sounds like you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Happens everyday in DV prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    A spouse can be called as a witness but may refuse to testify if spousal immunity applies. It gets complicated, so consult with a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
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