Getting a Subpoena: This Is What You Need to Do

There are several things you need to do if you receive a subpoena. You can learn more about getting a subpoena by clicking here.

There are several things you need to do if you receive a subpoena. If you are getting a subpoena, you’re not in luck, but we can help you turn that around.

In premise, a subpoena is a request for the appearance of the production of documentation. Depending on your circumstances and the reason for its delivery, you will have to adapt your actions accordingly.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know so that you can make an educated decision when choosing to respond to a subpoena.

So if you’re ready to take your legal knowledge one step higher, keep reading.

Subpoenas: What Are They Good For?

As mentioned earlier, a subpoena is a request for an appearance in court or the production of documentation. It is a court-mandated command and it requires you to do something. For instance, to present information to support a pending case or to testify. The term references under penalty. This means that if a subpoena is not abided by, the entity might face jail time, fines, or both.

Under criminal, state, and federal procedural law, subpoenas offer lawyers a possibility to gather the information that can help their client’s case. Criminal lawyers, for instance, make use of subpoenas to have a witness lay testimony. Similarly, a civil lawyer will subpoena an individual to get information that can help settlement. For instance, a lawyer represents a spouse in a child custody care, they might issue a subpoena to have the other spouse appear before the court of law.

Other examples of a subpoena are, but not limited to:

  1. DNA examination
  2. Computer access
  3. Employee records
  4. Photographs
  5. Income tax
  6. Medical bills
  7. Insurance policies
  8. Blood tests

So on and so forth. The list is practically endless and is only mitigated by the opinion of the judge.

In most cases, a subpoena can be signed and issued by a lawyer on behalf of the court in which they have access to practice. If the subpoena is for a government official, such as an agency head, then it has to be signed by the administrative judge of law. In some instances, a non-lawyer can make a subpoena if they are acting on their own behalf in terms of representation.

Getting A Subpoena: How Is It Served?

A subpoena is requested by a lawyer and issued by a clerk of the court, justice of the peace, or notary public. When getting a subpoena, it can be delivered/served in the following ways:

  1. Readout loud to the individual
  2. Certified mail to address
  3. Email
  4. Personal delivery

All of these methods address the last known information, so it can be outdated. In these cases, there are certain exceptions made to the individual, but there must be reasonable proof of such occurrence.

How to React to A Subpoena?

If you receive a subpoena, do not ignore it. A subpoena is a legal process and failure to respond is contempt of court. The next step is to read through it and determine what the context of the subpoena is. Subpoena requests are usually very comprehensive. Also, make sure to keep your documents and items safe that are in your possession.

You should also look for who is making the request and what is the purpose behind it. This will allow you to prepare for testimony if you are required to provide one. Finally, check the time of the hearing and avoid the potential fines for missing it. 

A person who receives a subpoena should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible, as only they will be able to help gather the necessary information that will assist you in securing your well being.

I Don’t Want to Testify

In most cases, going to testify, alone, is not something to worry about. You would simply attend, swear to speak the truth, and testify. The lawyer that made the request will meet you before to make sure they understand. If you don’t remember anything, there’s no reason to be anxious. Simply explain that you do not know, do not create details that you don’t recall.

However, testimonies can often place others in dangerous situations. Everything said is recorded and can be used against them at a later date. If you have concerns about legal trouble, you must speak with a lawyer. Although you might want to hire the lawyer that issued the subpoena, you shouldn’t avoid conflicts. 

Your lawyer will review the testimony and advise you about the potential consequences. You have a right that protects against self-incriminating evidence, so your lawyer might be able to keep your testimony out of court. When in doubt, the safest thing you can do is speak with an experienced attorney.

I Don’t Want to Produce Documents

Just like testifying, producing documentation is subject to legal repercussions. If you find concern that the documents can incriminate you, speak with a lawyer. Whatever you do, do not destroy these possessions. This is a crime. You might get in trouble for not making sure these documents are safe. Instead, give all of the evidence to your lawyer so that they can review and decide if there is a legal risk for their presentation.

If your evidence or testimony is not self-incriminating, you are required to present it. If you don’t you will be forced to pay fines and might serve jail time. A lawyer can provide irreplaceable assistance with determining how compliant you have to be, and whether or not your documentation is to e considered confidential and privileged.

Legal Help for You

Now that you know everything you need to know about getting a subpoena, you are well on your way to respond in an educated and appropriate manner. In any case, you can do what you like, but remember that there are consequences for ignoring this court order. 

If you need to speak with an experienced lawyer and gather your forces, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs, and ensure that this experience goes smoothly for you.