Can my wife be forced to testify against me if the crime happens before we were married.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my wife be forced to testify against me if the crime happens before we were married.

Receiving stolen property felony

Asked on May 1, 2019 under Criminal Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issues are:
1) How did she find out? If she saw you commit the crime, there is no privilege against her testifying: the "marital privilege" under New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 504 only applies to things you tell her (a "marital confidence"), not what she directly perceives. So if she saw the crime, she can be made to testify.
2) If she only learned about the crime from you telling her, when did you tell her? If during marriage, the privilege should apply (though see below). If you told her pre-marriage, however, it was not a "marital confidence" and she can be forced to testify.
3) If you told her during marriage, did you tell her privately, or tell her in front of other people (or on a group text, email, chat, etc.)? If you told her together with other people, it was not a "confidence" and she could be forced to testify.

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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