Have you recently received a court ordered subpoena? If so, you certainly want to know what to do next. Essentially, a subpoena is a court-ordered mandate telling a person to show up in court or at a deposition at a certain date and time. It could also instruct the recipient to provide a party of a case with certain information. This is not a request! Individuals who ignore a subpoena can find themselves in civil or criminal contempt of court with serious ramifications. However, a person may not need to blindly comply with the legal subpoena. That is why knowing what to do next is so important.
Read the subpoena. This is the first and, really, most important step. You won’t know exactly how to comply with it if you don’t first read it thoroughly and carefully, preferably more than once. Be sure to look for the parties that are involved in the litigation and the type of case it is. This can help the person to better prepare for testimony in the case. It will tell you whether it is issued to get you to testify at a hearing or trial, and exactly when you need to be there. If it is telling you that you are required to present some type of evidence, like a document, you must make steps to keep that item safe until then.
Consider any possible objections. The next step is for the potential witness to determine whether there are any potential objections that can limit or eliminate his or her need to provide testimony or evidence to the court. One reason why a person may not wish to provide testimony at a deposition or during a hearing is if the information is considered privileged and they do not feel they should legally have to do so. Another potential reason for a person not to provide testimony is because of the threat of self-incrimination. As a witness, you can ask not to be required to testify due to the possibility of incriminating yourself in a civil or criminal case. Another objection that may arise is if the subpoena is procedurally flawed. If you think any of these apply to you, you will probably want to hire your own lawyer. This attorney can further advise you in regards to your legal need to provide testimony or evidence.
Comply with the subpoena. If there are aspects of the subpoena that can be complied with that do not fall within the objections listed above, you are then expected to comply with what the subpoena is commanding of you. If you don’t, there will be serious consequences.
Don’t receive a subpoena and live in fear. The easiest thing to do is comply with that it says. If you don’t think you can or should have to, bring in a legal expert to advise you.