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I have been personally subpoena to testify against my boyfriend. I know I have to go to court but do I have to say anything?

Columbus, OH |

Me and my boyfriend got into a fight at his house. I left and went to my best friend house and he showed up there. I called the police because he wouldnt leave. When the police showed up they searched him and found a gun. So I got scared and said he choked me too(which was the truth and the police seen the marks). They charged him with assualt and carrying a concealed weapon. Now I have to go to court for the assualt charges but I dont want to testify. So whats the best thing to do when I go to court???? HELP PLEASE

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Attorney answers 5


Generally if you speak to the prosecutor and make your thoughts known, depending on the case, they will consider your concerns and prosecute the case accordingly (i.e. they may think the case is weaker because you are not willing to admit you were choked, and thus offer your boyfriend a better plea deal). However, because of the very real possibility that you are being intimidated by your boyfriend, they will not immediately determine that your changed testimony has merit - they will probably make numerous attempts to reach out to you in order to ascertain if IN FACT you are being intimidated or if there really is at least *some* truth in your changed version of events. At some point they will then decide how useful or necessary your testimony is, and proceed accordingly. Thus, they may decide that the marks and the police testimony are sufficient for a conviction - and as such they may decide that they have a strong case. Conversely, they may decide that the case has been substantially weakened, and may attempt to plea bargain accordingly.

Bottom line is that the prosecutor's decision will depend on the totality of circumstances. Only by meeting with an attorney and/or prosecutor can you have more assurance as to what may happen.

Good Luck.



Just make sure you show up and be cooperative. These types of cases are taken very seriously. Failure to appear may lead to a contempt of court charge against you.


You must comply with the subpoena, even if you don't want to testify I don't think it will matter so much, because the police responded to a situation involving domestic violence, which very possibly could have become a homicide - first, he choked you, which is at a minimum felonious assault, second, you ran away because you were scared and afraid and went to your best friends house and your boyfriend stalked you to your friend's house to re-engage with you carrying a handgun. Does he always carry a handgun? If so, why does he not have a license to carry a concealed weapon and? Is the handgun legally owned by him. Why does he carry a handgun? Does he have any previous felonies? If he has any other felonies he is possessing a handgun under a disability. What I am driving at is that, I don't see anyway around your testifying at trial, don't lie (try to talk to the prosecutor and indicate that you are willing to testify to A, B and C, but not about X,Y and Z.

Your boyfriend is in a lot of trouble. Realize that it is his fault (not yours) and that he brought this on himself. What are you supposed to stand there and take a beating. I can guarantee that no matter what happens the police will detail the events surrounding your boyfriends activities, that they saw evidence of strangulation on your neck (which often ends in a persons death). And that in responding to a "domestic incident" they interviewed you and your boyfriend separately and had probable cause to arrest him for domestic violence and recovered an illegal handgun. How do you know he wasn't thinking of killing you (or at least threatening your life further) if you didn't do what he said.

Frankly the police and the prosecutor have a very strong case. Even if you only say that you "called the police" and that the 911 call will be played if it goes to trial. My information indicates that your boyfriend will probably take a plea deal. If not you may be a witness for both the defense and prosecution.

A bit more information for you - do yourself a favor and find a new boyfriend.

Legal disclaimer: I am not your attorney and we have no attorney/client relationship. This response is submitted for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be taken as such. Anyone considering the above referenced response and should always consult directly with an attorney within your jurisdiction before taking any action based on this, or any other information. This information is provided without any cost and therefore is what it is worth. Again this information does not create any privileged attorney/client relationship and you are cautioned about information you convey to any person in a public forum.


Wow, you are unfortunately in the poor position of being both the GF of the accused as well as the primary State's witness against him. You will find that if you try to play BOTH sides -- that is continue to be his girlfriend AND try to cooperate with the police and Prosecutor -- you will anger, alienate, and offend both sides. You will be proverbially "stuck in no man's/woman's land."

You said that the two of you "got into a fight." If the "fight" was just an argument, a verbal disagreement, then no crime likely occurred. On the other hand, if things got physical in the fight, then someone likely committed Assault as a Misdemeanor 1.

When you left and went to your friend's house, you tried to de-escalate the situation. His sudden and unannounced appearance only showed aggression on his part, something that the police, Prosecutor, and Court will all highlight -- he took the fight to you. I presume that you asked him several times to leave and he refused, again a sign that he wanted to be aggressive, stand his ground, etc. Calling the police was a good thing for you, as clearly he didn't want to cool things down. Your call for help could have saved your life, literally.

When the police arrived, they were perfectly within their right to assess the situation and search him for weapons. It's part of standard police protocal for officer's safety. Once they found the pistol, the game was on like Donkey Kong. Now he was arrested for Carrying Concealed Weapons ("CCW"), a Felony 4 offense. They could arrest him for that crime alone, without any regard to the Assault on you earlier.

I am a bit concerned about your statement that you "said he choked [you] too." That almost sounds like you fabricated the part about the choking, like it didn't actually happen. You did say that this was true ,however, and that the police saw the marks on your neck, etc. Their observation of those marks forms the basis of separate independant testimony; they can testify to what they saw, even if you testify that you attacked your BF first and he was "only defending himself, etc." as commonly happens in these type of situations.

You absolutely have to go to Court if you were subpoened. If you are forced to testify in Court, you MUST tell the truth or face a host of problems, ranging from a jail sentence for contempt all the way to a possible criminal prosecution for Perjury. You would be best advised to tell the Prosecutor how you feel, explain that you would prefer that he only be convicted of the CCW charge and the Assault dismissed. Tell the Prosecutor that you don't want any repercussions long after you leave the Courthouse. The CCW is on him: HE brought the gun there, not you. He can't blame you for that. He chose to follow you, remember? You left him, he continued it on, wouldn't let it go. HE brought the gun, too. So now, HE has to pay for his transgressions here. If you couch it like that, I think that the Prosecutor may well dump the Assault in exchange for a plea to a Misdmeanor CCW, etc.

A separate issue that concerns me is whether you will stay involved with a man who argued with you, attacked you, followed you, and carried a firearm. As a lawyer, that is not my bailiwick. As a human being, however, I have to say that nobody deserves that type of treatment. Even if you continue to see him, give him an extremely short leash. The second you see something flare up, pack up and get out of there.

I hope this has answered your question. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

Atty. Dennis A. DiMartino
1032 Boardman-Canfield Rd., Ste. 103
Youngstown, OH 44512-4238
330.629.9030 Ext. 111 Phone
330.629.9036 FAX

The above information is shared for educational and discussion purposes only. No Attorney-Client relationship is intended or established through your reliance on the information provided. If your legal rights could be impacted by using this information, you are urged to seek legal counsel before taking action. Atty. Dennis A. DiMartino 1032 Boardman-Canfield Road Suite 103 Youngstown, OH 44512-4238 330.629.9030 Ext. 111 Phone 330.629.9036 FAX


I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.

I'm sorry you have gone through this. It must have been terribly frightening! My colleagues have given you accurate and compassionate advice. I'm sure you have a lot to think about.

I don't have any legal guidance to add. I write because the information in your question indicates you may be in an abusive relationship with your boyfriend. What he did this time is bad enough, and if he has been physically aggressive with you at other times, you need to accept that he is engaging in domestic abuse and YOU are the victim. A 2007 study found that one-third — 33% — of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Most of these were acts of domestic abuse. You must take this seriously, as YOUR life could be at risk.

Colombus has many resources for victims of domestic violence. Shelters, therapist, emergency hot-lines, and more. One resource is CHOICES: These helpful resources can be a big help, and I urge you to contact them. You don't have to go through this alone, and you don't have to put up with it.

I wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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