What are the consequences of refusing to testify in court?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Waterbury, CT

Is not testifying in court a felony and how much jail time does it usually carry or could you just pay a fine?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Salvatore Bonanno

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your question seems to imply that you've been served a subpoena. If so, then you need to contact a competent criminal defense attorney in order to understand your specific circumstances. For example, if you're invoking your 5th amendment privilege (as well as your rights under the CT Constitution) you need to have an attorney assist you, and alert the court before the hearing. On the other hand, if you don't have a valid 5th amendment privilege (e.g. a grant of immunity), you might be compelled to testify or face contempt of court... jail, fine, or both. You might also have other reasons that may satisfy the court in why you cannot testify.

    Good Luck

    Attorney Salvatore Bonanno
    Law Offices of Salvatore Bonanno
    67 Russ Street
    Hartford, CT 06106
    (860) 527-6500 Office
    (860) 246-6786 Fax
    www.hartfordlaw.net
    salvatore.bonanno@comcast.net

    Attorney Bonanno's answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client... more
  2. John Paul Thygerson

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As indicated by the other answers, you must respond to a subpoena. That being said, you may be able to invoke a privilege which would allow you not to answer the questioons posed to you. You absolutely should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss this matter in greater detail.

  3. Kevin M Black

    Contributor Level 11

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Each of the answers given are correct. Refusing to answer questions without the right to refuse can result in any and all of the sanctions you mention, jail or fines, and the court could hold you in jail until such time as you choose to answer the questions posed to you. If you don't show up in court and are under a lawful subpoena the court will likely issue a capias which allows a duly authorized officer to take you into custody and deliver you to the court that wants you. It is a serious decision.

    This is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is absolutely NOT legal advice that you should... more
  4. Frank Mascagni III

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a serious question. If you have received a subpoena to go to court, you must comply. If you don't want to testify you need legal advice. If it is a refusal based on your Fifth Amendment to remain silent and not give incriminating evidence, I would hire an attorney to assert that to the court before the hearing.

    If you decline for some other reason, the judge can cite you for contempt and possibly put you in jail for up to 6 months in some states, or until you cure yourself of contempt. Either way, you need to talk to a criminal defense lawyer for advice and direction.

    I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this... more

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