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Law Girl
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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  I have practiced criminal law.
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I am a victim in an assualt and robbery. However, I do not

Customer Question

I am a victim in an assualt and robbery. However, I do not want to testify. I am new in the US (only been here 2 months). I would strongly prefer not to testify. What are my options?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Girl replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Did you file a police report? Is the District Attorney planning to prosecute the case?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I did file a police report and was called to the police station to identify the suspect yesterday, and I did. However, I am not sure what is happening from the District Attorney's side. I just don't want to be involved in anything. The only reason I filed the police report was to see if my laptop (one of the stolen items) can be retrieved because of the valuable information on it.
Expert:  Law Girl replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for providing that clarification.

You may consider speaking to the District Attorney to find out whether they are going to prosecute. If they are, then you may not have the option of deciding not to testify because your testimony will be valuable. To the extent you refuse, they will subpoena you and compel your testimony. However, if you speak with the District Attorney prior to the pressing of charges, they may decide not to move forward if you do not to testify or they may provide you with other options depending on the circumstances. To the extent that the accused decides to take a plea (which happens in a lot of smaller cases where there is evidence), you testimony would not be required. However, again, the District Attorney is in the position of being able to determine what the chances are of the case moving forward to a trial.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Follow up question: Does the defense lawyer question me (victim/witness) in a hostile manner? How does the police report play a part in what I'm required to say in my testimony?
Expert:  Law Girl replied 7 years ago.
It depends on who the defense lawyer is. If this goes to trial, the defense lawyer will be allowed to question you. Whether the questioning is aggressive is really a matter of the style of the defense attorney. They may ask you questions you do not like, but generally many attorneys are not openly hostile because many judges do not allow rudeness or witnesses to be beat up in their court.

The police report tells the District Attorney of the events as reported and preserves evidence. You are only required to tell the truth. Now to the extent you reported the event a certain way, it helps your credibility for it to be consistent. However, the police report ultimately has little effect on your testimony because the District Attorney will get the entire story from you from beginning to end. The investigating officer may also be called to testify, in which case the report will have little relevance.