The Texas Husband-Wife Privilege In Criminal Cases: 5 Things You Need To Know

Prosecutors will some times subpoena an accused spouse to a criminal trial. In Texas there exist a Husband -Wife Privilege which may prevent the State from calling the spouse in a criminal trial. Here are 5 factors that come into play in the Texas Husband-Wife Privilege:

1. Privilege not to be called. In a criminal case the spouse of the accused has a privilege not to be called as a witness for the State. If the Spouse asserts the privilege the state can not call them as a witness unless there is an exception that applies.

2. The privilege belongs to the spouse. The accused can not assert the privilege to prevent the spouse from testifying. If the spouse wants to voluntarily testify for the state the may do so even if the accused objects.

3. Failure to call as a witness. If the accused fails to call their spouse as a witness when the evidence could testify to relevant matters, the prosecutor can comment to the jury about the failure of the spouse to appear as a witness.

4. Exceptions to the privilege. The privilege does not apply if the spouse witness, other member of the household, or minor child is the alleged victim of the criminal case. An example would be a Domestic assault involving the wife or a Sexual assault allegation involving an accused child.

5. Prior to marriage. The privilege does not apply to any matters that occurred prior to the marriage. Any matters known or conversations made with spouse prior to marriage is fair game for testimony and falls outside the privilege

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