Can the victim of the crime just turn down a lawyer and when asked to testify just plead the 5th so the defendant can not go to jail?

  • What does "Plead the 5th mean"? Without a country tag, there are many countries, many laws, many constitutions, and many laws which have a 5th paragraph or 5th amendments or 5th decrees or whatever.
    – vsz
    Jul 26, 2019 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


In principle, the victim can be granted immunity for his testimony. At that point, since his testimony cannot incriminate him, the 5th Amendment protections no longer apply. He can be ordered to testify and held in contempt of court if he refuses.

  • Wouldn't it be worth to cite spousal immunity as an important exception to this rule (at the jurisdictions where it applies)? law.stackexchange.com/questions/17992/…
    – SJuan76
    Apr 25, 2019 at 9:09
  • @SJuan76: Well, in the linked question, the cited Colorado statute has a specific exception for when one spouse is accused of a crime against the other, which would seem to be the case here. Given the possible subtleties involved and variance between jurisdictions, I don't think I know enough to address it. You are welcome to add another answer if you wish. Apr 25, 2019 at 20:20

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