The marital privilege can be used for all types of cases. It is more commonly used in the criminal setting though, where one spouse is either a witness or victim. We have seen the marital privilege used in cases such as theft schemes, and even drug distribution cases, but without a doubt the most common use for the statue is during assault cases. There is an alarming trend in the last few years that when police are called to the scene of a domestic disturbance someone ends up in handcuffs. There is no law or police policy that says cops must arrest someone in a domestic dispute, and it’s unfortunate that it ends up this way. Ideally the police should treat every call to service with a degree of objectivity. Arrive on scene, observe the situation, and then take action if necessary. But it doesn’t happen this way out on the street, and it’s usually the male that ends up in jail. Regardless of who is arrested, if the two are legally married the victim cannot be compelled to testify against the defendant if he or she asserts the privilege. Keep in mind that for assault cases the victim may only assert the privilege one time. The judge and prosecutor will typically questions the victim under oath with the penalty of perjury if the victim were to be untruthful. After the privilege is invoked the judge will typically find the defendant not guilty, but this is not a guarantee. There still may be independent witnesses that can testify that a crime was committed. If you or a love one has been arrested for assault, or any other crime, you may be eligible to invoke the marital privilege. Contact Benjamin Herbst for a free consultation at 410-207-2598 about your case.