Subpoenas are documents that order an individual to appear in court much like warrants do, but without the jail time unless you do not appear in court as the subpoena requests. Someone may be served with a subpoena for family law cases; these are typically served in civil, custody, or divorce cases. These court ordered documents might come with a specific request such as your need to testify, contact someone, or provide some sort of information. In the event that you or someone you know has been subpoenaed or has failed to adhere to a court ordered subpoena, there is a chance that they may face jail time, probation, or fines. If this occurs, you should speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Types of Subpoenas
There are two different types of subpoenas that may be issues, the first being subpoena ad testificandum. This type of subpoena requires that you show up in court or testify to some extent. The other is subpoena duces tecum, and does not require that you appear in court, but it does ask that you cooperate and provide evidence in connection to the case.
Sometimes knowledgeable and useful parties are not cooperative as it pertains to the case. A subpoena helps an attorney get a witness that may help their case appear in court if they do not want to come forward with the information that they have. Once you receive the subpoena whether it is by regular mail, certified mail, or by a process server, consider yourself served. Once a subpoena is received please be sure to read every part of the document so that you do not miss anything. If you do not adhere to the terms of the subpoena there is a chance you could suffer criminal charges.
Contact an Attorney
The laws vary from state to state and the Internet is not able to teach you all you need to know about the laws. If you have been served with a subpoena it is okay to contact an attorney to see what legal options you have. Depending on the type of case it is, you may be able to hire an attorney to assist you with preparing for court, as it is likely that you have not been subpoenaed before. Remember that if you do not cooperate, you may very well be breaking the law and may get yourself in more trouble than you had originally hoped for. Contact an attorney, like a Dekalb trial attorney, if you have further questions.
Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into what subpoenas are.