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JD
JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
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Do I have to testify against a friend

Customer Question

I recently wrote in a question and paid for it. I have another question. I gave a friend a ride who in turn committed fraud by illegally obtaining a prescription with someone else's name. I was not arrested nor charged but am required to respond to a witness subpoena from the Deputy DA. The top of the subpoena has the "state vs. her name" and says I have been named a "victim or a witness". Do I have to go and testify before the Dist. Attorney for this investigative witness subpoena? What if I don't want to testify against her? Will I be required to make a written statement or speak under oath? What are my rights of self incrimination? Can I be charged with aiding her? Do I need a lawyer with me? Can I plead the fifth?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JD replied 5 years ago.

You can plead the fifth amendment, however the DA need only grant you immunity and then you can be compelled to testify. Many witnesses do not wish to testify for the prosecution to a crime or portion of a crime they witnessed... that is a very natural feeling. However, the state has placed you under subpoena and you must comply with that subpoena or you could find yourself in trouble as well. Further, before I'd take the fifth I would ask to speak to an attorney and let them evaluate the entire case to determine if you are at risk of jeopardizing yourself. You don't necessarily need a lawyer with you when you testify... but I would have a lawyer review the case before and give an opinion whether or not you could be facing potential criminal liability. Your attorney may even be able to arrange immunity before you show up to court.

 

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from being compelled into making incriminating statements against yourself. Therefore, if you were facing charges or could potentially face charges the state could not force you to testify or answer any questions. However, if the state grants you immunity from your testimony then your Fifth Amendment rights evaporate and you must testify.

 

In short... you must comply with a subpoena.

 

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