Does the "marital privilege" mean I can stop my spouse from testifying against me?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Answer: It depends.

The "marital privilege" (also known as the "spousal privilege") is one of the more complicated California evidentiary privileges.

This is because it is actually two privileges: the spousal testimonial privilege, and the confidential marital communications privilege.

The spousal testimonial privilege means that your current spouse can refuse to testify in a court proceeding against you. But if your spouse chooses to testify, you cannot stop him/her.

The confidential marital communications privilege, on the other hand, means that your spouse cannot testify about the information you shared with him/her in confidence while you were married.

And even if your spouse wants to testify about confidential marital communications, you CAN prevent him/her from doing so.

Plus, the confidential marital communications privilege applies to ex-spouses as well as current ones. But it also applies only to confidential communications that took place while you were married (not before or after).

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370