Can two people involved in a fight both just drop the assault and battery charges?

Sharon (Guest) on Monday, September 24 2012, 11:11 AM
My husband and his friend got into a bar brawl in Lunenberg and were arrested for assault and battery. The case is going to trial. I saw the altercation but I don’t know if my husband is guilty or not. If I get subpoenaed to testify am I going to have to testify or can I assert some kind of marital privilege? Also, can my husband and his friend both decide to drop the charges so we can get on with our lives?
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    Replied by Attorney Damian Riddle on Thursday, September 27 2012, 07:21 AM · Hide · #1
    I am assuming your husband got into a fight with his friend at the bar and they were each charged with assault and battery against each other. You do have a marital privilege, which if asserted, would allow you to legally refuse to testify against your husband even if you receive a summons to appear in Court. You would still have to appear in Court, but you would assert your marital privilege once called to the stand to testify and the Court should recognize it as a valid privilege. Also, your husband and his friend have 5th Amendment privileges against self-incrimination. They each have the right not to incriminate themselves. Since they are both charged with crimes, if they are called to the stand to testify against the other, then they each have the possibility of saying things which could incriminate themselves. Therefore, they both may want to assert a 5th and refuse to testify against the other. If there are no other witnesses or evidence against them, then the District Attorney’s office will not be able to proceed and the charges will either be dropped or they will be found not guilty.

    However, it is possible the government has other witnesses who observed the fight and could testify about what happened. In that event the government may have enough evidence to proceed to trial.

    Your husband should consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney in the Lunenburg/Fitchburg area to review any police reports and other evidence and more properly evaluate the case.
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