In a domestic violnece case, if I’m called as a witness must I testify?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2018

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In a domestic violnece case, if I’m called as a witness must I testify?

Can I plead the 5th?

Asked on January 14, 2018 under Criminal Law, Alaska


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are subpoenaed, then you must go to court since a subpoena is a direct court order to appear. If you ignore it, you can he held in contempt and a warrant for failure to appear can be issued for your arrest. Further, you can face a fine and/or jail time. As for invoking the 5th amendment (i.e. the right against self-incrimination), some domestic violence victims try to do this, however this right only applies if their testimony would cause them to incriminate themselves in some way. 

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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