Have you been served with a subpoena and now you are not sure whether or not you should or have to go? Some may tell you that you have to go or you will go to jail. There is so much to know when you hear those words; ‘You Have Been Served’.
A subpoena is a legal order demanding your presence in court. It is approved by the judge and is binding. Even if you are hundreds of miles away from court and you feel you do not have to go since you are so far, if a judge has approved it then you must attend. Anything over 150 miles from the courthouse will be approved by a judge, so if you have it in hand, consider it approved.
When a subpoena is served it must be served by an adult that is not attached to the case in any manner. This could be a police officer or a defense investigator. If the subpoena is intended for a minor then the parents or legal guardian will be served. Now if the minor is 12 years old or older they will also receive a copy of the subpoena in the mail.
What everyone wants to know is what happens if they do not show up. Here is what is most likely to occur. There will be a ‘body attachment’ warrant issued for you. The police will find you and take into custody. You could be held in the jail until that specific case returns to court to be heard. If you still refuse to speak at the hearing you can and probably will be found in contempt of court and you could find yourself back in jail until you agree to testify.
The best advice that any criminal defense attorney will offer you is simple: if you are subpoenaed, follow the instructions on where to appear, testify truthfully, and be dismissed. It may not be easy and may very well disrupt your day; but in the long run you were subpoenaed for a reason and the judge, attorneys, and everyone involved wants to hear from you. So, go and be heard.