Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer San Francisco, CA
If you are a potential witness in a civil or criminal federal court case, you might want to get advice from a federal criminal defense lawyer San Francisco, CA residents rely on. By seeking an attorney out, you may be better equipped with the knowledge and understanding of what you can expect, what you should or should not say, and whether or not you must oblige to a request for testimony. To speak with a lawyer now, please call The Morales Law Firm.
Can I be forced to testify as a witness in court?
In general, you can be forced by the court to testify. When this is ordered, you will be sent a subpoena via hand delivery, direct communication, or email. The subpoena will state in detail what type of testimony is needed from you. Once you have been given the subpoena, you must legally oblige. If you don’t understand your obligations, you should consult a federal criminal defense lawyer serving San Francisco, CA as soon as possible.
When You Might Be Excused from Testifying in Court
There are a few conditions which may allow you to forego a court ordered testimony. These include:
The testimony would incriminate yourself – Under the Fifth Amendment in the Constitution, you have the right to avoid giving any evidence that could self-incriminate you. In most cases, you can plead the Fifth Amendment, which legally allows you to refuse answering questions. Nowadays, this right has been challenged by State and Federal prosecutors. If you plan on using it, you should talk with a federal criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco, CA to find out what might happen as a result.
You are a defendant in a criminal case – As an extension of the Fifth Amendment, any criminal defendant cannot be forced to testify in a courtroom. You should definitely consult with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer for San Francisco, CA.
You are the spouse of someone involved in the case – The court views the communication between two spouses as a privilege. This means, in most situations, the court cannot force a testimony against your spouse.
You, the witness, is also the priest, psychologist, therapist, or lawyer of one party – Typically anyone who is working in profession that involves discretion or confidentiality cannot also be a witness for or against the party which they have a professional relationship with. The court views these relationships as privileged and honors them with special protection.
You are not competent – Some witnesses are not able to provide a testimony because of their age, a health condition, or the inability to recall events truthfully. Being deemed incompetent is not easy. Many cases throughout the U.S. have involved witnesses who were very young children, elderly adults, or people who had moderate special needs. In these instances, it is often up to a jury to decide whether or not they should rely upon the testimony given. A good San Francisco, CA federal criminal defense lawyer should know how to handle this type of issue should it be relevant to your case.
If none of the above apply to you, there is a very high chance that you will need to testify in court. If you avoid this, you could be held in contempt and face incarceration, fines, or fees. To ensure your rights and interests is in good hands throughout a court proceeding, you may want to reach out to a lawyer who has experience in the courtroom. Should you have legitimate safety concerns, due to a fear of retaliation, a lawyer may be able to talk with the judge about keeping the general public or court reporters out of the courtroom. Sometimes it is possible to make the court records secret.
Have You Been Subpoenaed as Witness?
If you are required to provide testimony in a trial, we encourage you to talk with a federal criminal defense lawyer San Francisco, CA trusts at The Morales Law Firm as quickly as possible.