What happens if a witness/victim does not show up in court to testify in Guilford, North Carolina.

Question Details:My wife has been charged with simple assault against me, her husband. She is also charged with filing a false police report and conspiracy. She has asked me not to show up in court (because I have given testimony to investigators that would implicate her). If I did not show up, what would be my consequences?  Could she sue me for filing charges if she is not convicted? Should I need to seek out an attorney of my own? She has invited me to meet with hers - is that a bad idea?

Asked 5 years ago under Criminal Defense | 13620 Views | More Legal Topics

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Damon Chetson | The Chetson Firm, PLLC Answered 5 years ago This Raleigh, NC attorney is licensed in North Carolina

In some domestic violence cases, both sides may have criminal liability, even though only one side was charged.  For instance, if your wife hit you, and during the argument you hit her back, you might be liable for assault on a female (which is a more serious crime in NC than simple assault).  In addition, if you were separated and had gone to her home (your former joint home), and she told you to leave, you are potentially liable for domestic criminal trespass.

You may want to talk to a lawyer if you think that by testifying you would open yourself up to criminal liability. While you must ordinarily comply with a subpoena, in some cases - where complying would compromise your 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination - you can lawfully avoid a subpoena.  

If you think you might have criminal liability, get a free consultation with a criminal lawyer.

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 5 years ago

By asking you not to show up in court, your wife has committed another crime of tampering with a witness.  In any event, it is unlikely that your failure to show up will expose you to civil liability, unless (1) you are subpoenaed (in which case you could be subjected to criminal penalties as well if you do not show up), and/or (2) unless you lied to the police in order to get her arrested -- however, since she is charged with filing a false report, I think this is unlikely.  Its not necessarily a bad idea to meet with her attorney; however, you should remember that he has HER interests in mind, NOT YOURS.  Therefore, you will probably want to consult with your own attorney prior to agreeing to anything important.  Good luck.

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