What Are the Different Types of Subpoenas?
When you hear the word “subpoena,” you may imagine men and women with badges brutally knocking on your door shouting your name. You may picture being approached in public by someone who hands you an envelope and shouts, “You’ve been served!” as they hastily jog away. The truth is that you can be served in a variety of ways, depending on the type of subpoena it is.
1. Witness Subpoena
If you are served a witness subpoena, it is because you are believed to have either witnessed a crime or are able to provide information about a person that has been. Your subpoena will list a date and time for you to appear in court. In most cases, you will be appearing at a trial.
2. Subpoena Duces Tecum
This is translated to “subpoena for production of evidence.” When you receive this subpoena, an attorney is asking that you produce documents or some type of records that are under your control. In many cases, you can mail or scan the documents and email them. In some cases, you can deliver them in person at a date prior to the date on your subpoena if you arrange it with the requesting attorney.
3. Deposition Subpoena
A deposition subpoena means that you are not a party to the lawsuit, but you are being asked to provide testimony. You may be asked questions and have to provide answers, or you may have to produce documents. This subpoena is different than a subpoena duces tecum because you will be providing evidence during the discovery process, and the evidence you provide may not be used in a court hearing if the attorney ultimately believes it won’t be useful.
One of the most important things to remember about a subpoena is that it is a lawful order; in fact, “subpoena” translates from Latin to “under penalty.” This means that it cannot be ignored. You certainly have the right to contact the requesting party or even your own attorney if you have questions, but you cannot outright ignore the paper. A subpoena delivered via certified mail has as much power as one handed to you by a law enforcement officer or court official.
In some cases, you may not have the documents that an attorney believes you have. You can tell the attorney this. You may not be able to answer questions and provide the information that an attorney needs; no matter what, it’s best be honest in these situations. The attorney who issued the subpoena will be the one to decide if what you have is useful to their case.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Atlanta, you have the right to legal representation. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We have experience handling a variety of criminal offenses in court, and we will put our knowledge and excellent reputation to work for you. Reach out to us or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.