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May 18, 2022

In California, there is a legal term called marital privileges. What are marital privileges and how do they affect a criminal case? We will answer these questions as well as show you how an attorney from the Tierney Law Group can help. 

What are the two marital privileges?

In California, there are two types of marital privileges. First is the right to choose not to testify, during a criminal jury trial, against your spouse. The second marital privilege is you don’t have to reveal anything confidential you and your spouse have discussed. This right works both ways, preventing your spouse from sharing your confidential discussions with a third party. 

Evidentiary privilege is one type of spousal privilege that holds major importance. This is due to the spouse or ex-spouse being a reliable source of information during criminal proceedings. 

What are marital privileges in a CA divorce?

In California, section code 970 it states that the marital privileges are no longer valid once a couple divorces. This means a spouse can testify against a former spouse in court during a criminal jury trial. However, according to section 980, marital privileges of the disclosure of confidential communications are not terminated. A Pleasanton divorce attorney can give you more information regarding marital privilege and divorce in California. 

The marital privileges divorce attorney in Pleasanton Ca explain the exceptions in regards to marital privilege and confidential communications: 

  • Certain court proceedings involving juveniles 
  • Fraud or other crimes 
  • Case proceedings that involve a spouse’s mental or physical stability 
  • Cases about the competency of a spouse 
  • Dissolution of the marriage court proceedings

Examples of marital privilege 

For example, a man is on trial for burglary and the prosecution believes his wife knows some pertinent facts about the case.  He is pressuring her about testifying at her husband’s trial. 

Before she does anything, she needs to seek the legal counsel of a Pleasanton Marital Privileges Attorney. Her attorney will advise her that it is her right, under California marital privilege to refuse to testify. 

How marital privilege in CA works

In California, there is this thing called marital privilege. Sections 970 and 971 of the California Evidence Code sets forth the way it operates. Marital privilege gives a spouse protection against being forced into testifying against their spouse during court proceedings. Marital privilege is the exception to the general rule regarding calling anyone to testify as a witness during criminal proceedings. 

It’s the spouse’s decision

A critical factor regarding marital privilege and testimony is that your spouse cannot testify against you. What this translates to is he or she can rebut the prosecution’s request for your testimony in court. Yet, your spouse can still testify against you if they so choose to do it. There is nothing you can do to stop them. 

For example, a wife has overheard her husband and his friend talking about committing a crime he is later charged with. According to marital privilege, she can refuse to testify to what she heard. She is mad at her husband for committing the crime and thinks he should pay. In this situation, she should first consult with a marital privileges attorney to be advised of her legal rights. 

How an attorney can help

If you live in Pleasanton California and need advice regarding marital privileges, the Tierney Law Group can help. We are a family law attorney Pleasanton CA residents trust us to get them the results they are seeking. In addition, we are a divorce attorney Pleasanton residents count on to give them correct advice regarding marital privilege in California.  When you have been charged with a crime and are married, you need a marital privileges attorney in Pleasanton CA. Call the Tierney Law Group today at 925-362-3364 and schedule a consultation appointment today.