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How can I not appear to the Summons?

Boston, MA |

I recently witness a fight between a couple where I work at. So, i called the police and the couple ended up getting caught. Few minutes later, one of the police called me and ask my information. Few weeks after, I got this letter of Summons, asking me to appear as a witness to testify. In the letter, it has mentioned , "Failure to appear in accordance with this summons may result in issuacne of a warranty for arrest."

I was just doing my job that day and honestly do not want to go to the court and expose myself out there, Can I the "Plead the 5th" and not appear in the court, How should I handle this situation as I do not have much time left.

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Attorney answers 4


Unless your testimony would implicate you in a crime, then you cannot plead the 5th. Even if you were to have grounds to plead the 5th, you would still have to go to court and do so there.
You must show up to court on the date and time shown in the summons. Failure to do so may result in the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest.
I suggest you contact the prosecutor on the case, or the Victim/Witness advocate and ask if the case is likely to go forward on that day. You can also ask to be put "on call" by the prosecution. This means that if they need you to go in, they will call you an hour or so before and then you must go. This is not a right you have, it is simply a courtesy that some prosecutors extend to some witnesses.

Hope this helps

Law Office of Ilir Kavaja
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The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.


You cannot plead the Fifth, because that is a right not to incriminate yourself in this or another crime by taking an oath to tell the truth and testifying. If you were not involved in a crime, you do not have this right to claim. You cannot avoid testifying under summons, so you must go to court. However, often these cases are resolved up to the last minute before a trial starts or even during the trial, and there is a chance that you will not have to testify. You do need to go to the court and check in with the clerk. You will receive a nominal fee for your travel and appearance, so make sure you check in.

When you testify, listen closely to the questions and answer only the questions you are certain about. It is perfectly fine to say "I don't know" or "I don't remember" instead of making assumptions.

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


A summons to appear as a witness is equivalent to a court order. Failure to appear as required could result in a warrant for your arrest. You can only "plead the Fifth" if by testifying you will essentially be admitting to a crime yourself. That does not sound like the situation in your case. Sorry, but you'll need to appear and, if necessary, testify.

Law Office of Stephen P. Kelly (508) 983-1479--Criminal Defense, Military Law, Divorce & Family Law, Appeals. DISCLAIMER: Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.


You had better speak the lawyer busy

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