my boyfriend, child's father is scheduled for a trial for domestic assault. details in the police report was misconstrued and i want the case to be dismissed and go on with our lives as a family. i understand that the court may serve me a subpoena any day now. we have full intentions to staying together and just want to resolve this mess.
i want to know if it would be beneficial for us to get married tomorrow? (marital/spousal privilege)
I have NO intentions of testifying against him if i do get called upon to testify in court. is the DA going to manipulate me into incriminating him? is it best for our case if I avoid having to step foot in court (even if i am supporting/on the same side of my boyfriend) ??
thanks for your time
Marrying your boyfriend will exempt you from having to testify against him. However, it does not mean the Commonwealth would necessarily drop the case if they have other evidence. Talk to your boyfriend's lawyer to find out if invoking the marital privilege would be the best thing for your boyfriend's case, or if your truthful testimony that the police report was wrong would be more helpful.
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General Practice Lawyer
This would be what your marriage is based around? To avoid testifying against a boyfriend? The prosecution may have other evidence to pursue charges.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
The spousal privilege prevents the Commonwealth (DA) from making you testify against your spouse in a crime that does not involve you as a victim. You can waive this right and testify.
Disqualification of a spouse means that a spouse may not testify against the other, even if they both want to, regarding private o communications between the two of you. This disqualification does not apply in cases where you are the victim. It also only applies if the communication happened while you were married. If he threatened you, you do not have the privilege not to testify about that if you get married after it happens.
The only real exclusion I can see is if you were involved in some way--equally responsible because you assaulted him as well. Then you can refuse to testify to implicate yourself. 5th Amendment.
In other words, you would not be protected by the spousal privilege for a case where you are the victim.
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Family Law Attorney
There may be other privileges that you can use to keep from testifying. You should consult a lawyer other than your boyfriend's lawyer to understand your options. Maybe you can have the same result without getting married.
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Massachusetts has a "marital privilege" statute which generally speaking allows a husband or wife to refuse to testify at a criminal trial against the other. Both the Federal and State Consitutions provide for a privilege of any person not to incriminate themself. If your truthful testimony could in any way subject you to prosecution for a crime then you could exercise your Fifth Amendment privilege and refuse to testify without having to take the dramatic step of marriage. Marrying the guy (who allegedly beat you) seems like quite a drastic step, don't you think? Would you say that it is a good environment for your child to be living in the household with a man who allegedly beats his/her mother? You two have a child and have not yet married; why not? I am not trying to get moralistic on you here; I just feel you should have a better reason to marry someone other than it may get him out of the case. Good Luck.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Any statements you made to police that tend to demonstrate his guilt would be admissible if you purposely got married to avoid from having to testify under the doctrine of forfeiture by wrong doing. Here the your boyfriend would forfeit the right to cross examine and confront witnesses if the court finds that you and him purposely got married to prevent the testimony. This was decided recently in a case called Commonwealth v szerlong. So you're decision to get married would be a bad one based on what you have said here. However, if you had another privilege - such as the privilege against self incrimination - that would not open the door to your statements being admitted. I also agree that if there is other evidence such as a 911 call or photographs that show injuries or other witnesses obviously, the commonwealth will go forward without you. If you have questions beyond that you should consult a lawyer. Only an attorney who practices criminal law can assess whether you have a valid privilege. Good luck