Can I plead the 5th in a domestic violence case against my husband?

UPDATED: Nov 19, 2017

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Can I plead the 5th in a domestic violence case against my husband?

He is accused of hurting me but it was only an accident.

Asked on November 19, 2017 under Criminal Law, New York


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Have you been subpoenaed? If so, then you must appear since a subpoena is a direct order from a court. If you ignore it, you can he held in contempt of and a warrant for failure to appear can be issued for your arrest. You can also face fines and/or jail time.Some domestic violence victims try to invoke the Fifth Amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination). However, this right doesn't apply merely because a witness doesn't want to testify. It only applies if their testimony would cause them to incriminate themselves. Also, note that witness who refuses to testify can be held in contempt and jailed and/or fined. Finally, in these type cases, many spouse's think that they can invoke "spousal privilege", which is the right of one spouse not to have to give testimony against the other spouse. However, most states have amended this privilege so that one spouse can be made to testify against the other.

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 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.

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