Will My Spouse Have to Testify Against Me in Texas? Wilson County Defense Attorney
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Will My Spouse Have to Testify Against Me in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerYour spouse probably knows almost everything about you, from your deepest fears to your favorite song. Many married couples share nearly every aspect of their lives and have few or no secrets from each other. If you have been accused of a crime, odds are, your spouse knows something about that too. You may be worried about the potential impact of having your spouse testify against you, not just on your case but on your marriage as well.

Luckily, Texas law carves out a few exemptions to protect married couples from having to testify in proceedings against each other and limiting the scope of questioning if they do. A qualified attorney can help you better understand whether your spouse may have to testify, and if so, about what.

What Two Texas Rules Protect Spouses from Testifying Against Each Other?

In Texas, there are two distinct rules that protect married couples from having to incriminate each other. They are:

  • Spousal Immunity - This privilege is held by a spouse who is married to a defendant during the trial, and if called would be asked to testify about a crime that allegedly took place during the marriage. The spouse can assert his or her privilege and refuse to be called to the stand at all. However, if the non-defendant spouse chooses to voluntarily testify, the defendant spouse cannot stop them. Further, the defendant's spouse still has the power to compel their spouse to testify anyway.
  • Marital Communication - Either the defendant spouse or the witness spouse can assert this privilege, which protects certain confidential communications between a married couple. When a married person tells their spouse something in private, even if it is related to a crime, the spouse generally cannot be asked about it on the stand if either spouse objects. Even if the couple has subsequently divorced, any communications made during the marriage are still protected under this privilege. There is an exception, however, for communications made in furtherance of a crime, which is not protected.

Neither privilege applies in cases where the non-defendant spouse is the victim, such as in domestic violence cases. Other exceptions may apply to each, including limitations on a spouse’s privilege to avoid testifying about anything that happened before the marriage. If there is a risk that the state may want your spouse to testify against you, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney who can determine whether and when these privileges may apply.

Call a Wilson County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal prosecution, BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys can help. Our experienced Floresville criminal defense lawyers will aggressively advocate for you and protect your rights and privileges during the trial. Call 830-769-1010 for a free consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1448644/texas-rules-of-evidence-updated-with-amendments-effective-612020-f.pdf

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