What Happens When Domestic Violence Victims Won’t Testify?

UT Domestic Violence Several states have different laws pertaining to domestic violence. In a number of states, people are entitled to refuse testimony against their spouse in a court proceeding. Utah Code § 76-5-109.1 deems it is a crime for anyone to commit domestic violence in the presence of a child. Individuals arrested for domestic violence of any kind should contact an attorney immediately to discuss action. The individual whom the crime was committed against can legally refuse to testify, this right is called “spousal testimonial privilege.” The privilege is meant to promote peace and harmony within a marriage, removing a damaging testimony against the spouse, and reducing the risk of the spouse being charged for a crime.

Domestic Violence and Victim Testimony

When a person is prosecuted for a domestic violence case and their spouse refuses to testify, it typically leads to confusion for some people. Can the defendant still be prosecuted for their crime? The simple answer is YES. Prosecutors will try to gather evidence against the individual and prosecute them for the crime, even without a damaging testimony from the victim. Whether the prosecution wants to move forward with the case or not is up to them. Some prosecutors will toss out the case, but others might pursue it, especially if this is a reoccurring problem with the couple.

Collecting Evidence Against the Defendant

The prosecution will have a team of people that will start to gather evidence if they pursue charges. Medical evidence is one of the most common tools used by prosecution to pursue a case.

Previous Convictions

If there have been previous convictions, the prosecution is likely to seek charges against the defendant. Prosecutors can choose to proceed at this point, and it is time to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Individuals dealing with domestic violence in Utah can end up serving in prison for several years if they fail to have an attorney negotiate with the prosecution. Kelly Peterson Law can provide assistance to both sides of a domestic violence case to reach a fair outcome for both parties. Contact our Orem Law Office today to discuss your legal rights (801) 616-3301!

Kelly Peterson
About the Author

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Kelly Peterson handles child custody, visitation, paternity, grandparent rights and mediation cases.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children