“Do you take this person to be your lawfully wedded spouse to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part?” Those statements, or some iteration of them, are commonly known as wedding vows. Arguably, marriage confers many benefits upon the people who choose to get married. Those benefits may be emotional, financial, tangible, or intangible. Out of all the benefits that marriage can convey that being in a dating relationship may not, it’s one that can specifically affect a criminal case, and it’s called the spousal witness privilege.
A spousal witness privilege conveys a privilege to married couples that single parties do not enjoy. Article 505 of the Louisiana Code of Evidence states that a witness spouse has the privilege not to testify against their other spouse in a criminal case or in commitment or interdiction proceedings. That means that even if your spouse has relevant or valuable information that the prosecution wants to use in your criminal case, your spouse cannot be compelled to testify against you. Indeed, the law confers to your spouse an extra layer of protection that can be used to protect you in a criminal case that it does not give to your girlfriend/boyfriend. However, the privilege is not without limits.
The privilege only persists while you are married. It terminates if you receive an annulment of the marriage, legal separation, or divorce from your spouse. So, if your spouse knows or is privy to information about you that may be criminal in nature, you may want to ensure that you maintain a happy marriage.
Moreover, the privilege does not apply if your criminal charge involves a crime against the person of your spouse or against the person of a child that you share. Thus, if you are charged with kidnapping, assault, battery, or other crimes against the person of your spouse or a child, the privilege may not be a workable option. Either way, if you find yourself in trouble with the law and your spouse is a potential witness, you should call a Louisiana criminal defense attorney to weigh your options and possible defenses.
Call a Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Philip B. Adams are experienced criminal lawyers in Louisiana who understand and believe in the sanctity of marriage. The criminal justice system should not be used to cause the destruction of your family. What you discuss with your spouse and the confidences that you share with your spouse are yours to keep. Your spouse knows more about you than any other person. Many of the things that your spouse knows are private and should be kept that way.
We are here to fight for your rights, marriage, and privileges. We have a strong criminal defense practice, and since this firm's inception, our firm has been fighting to keep families together throughout the state of Louisiana. To learn more information about our firm, contact us to set up a consultation.