You probably know the term subpoena from movies or television, but do you know what it is and why you might be faced with one? A subpoena is a request to appear in court or to produce documents related to a case. It’s a court ordered action that is required to be handled and responded to. The word subpoena means “under penalty,” which in the simplest terms means if you don’t comply with the demands you could be facing fines or jail time or both.
Subpoenas can occur in two different forms, the first subpoena ad testificandum requires your appearance to testify in court. The other one is a subpoena duces tecum that requires the production of documents or other tangible evidence.
When Would a Subpoena Happen?
One may be served a subpoena in a divorce, custody battle, personal injury case, or a handful of other court cases. Subpoenas allow a chance to prove or disprove facts in a case.
You might get a subpoena requesting:
- DNA samples
- Computer files
- Text messages
- Income tax returns
- Employment verifications
- Photography or video files
- Medical bills or insurance records
Subpoenas are issued by an attorney on behalf of the courts and are created by a court clerk, judge, or notary public. They can be hand delivered, emailed, sent via certified mail, or even read out loud in person. If you happen to be subpoenaed, it’s important that you don’t ignore it as it’s often considered being in contempt of court. Put together the requested information and return it to the asking party as quickly as possible.
Subpoenas are a serious matter and tend to be full of detail and need to be fulfilled as requested. If it seems like something you’re not sure you can handle on your own, consider getting the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system. Russell Spatz has decades of experience and can make this a smooth and simple process for you. Call him today at 305-442-0200.