I'm sometimes asked by husbands who were arrested for domestic violence
— California Penal Code section 273.5 or 243(e)(1) — whether
they can prevent their wives from testifying in court by invoking their
California law recognizes two marital privileges. First, a spouse may refuse
to testify against the other spouse. This privilege is sometimes called
the spousal testimony privilege. (Evidence Code section 970.) Second,
a spouse may refuse to disclose or may prevent the other spouse from disclosing
confidential communications between them during their marriage. This privilege
is sometimes called the marital communications privilege. (Evidence Code
section 980). Despite these privileges, the Legislature has enacted numerous
exceptions. The main exception which applies here, states that the two
marital privileges cannot be invoked if one spouse is charged with a crime
against the other spouse. (Evidence Code section 972). In other words,
if the husband is charged with a domestic violence offense, he cannot
prevent his wife from being brought to court by the prosecutor and ordered
by the judge to testify against her husband.
If you have been charged with domestic violence or spousal battery in Temecula,
Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona
or Riverside, you need the assistance of an effective and experienced
criminal defense attorney.
Call my office immediately to schedule a free consultation.