Monday, November 20, 2017

What is Subpoena?

Some of the best and worst things in the world do not come free such as a car, a house, and a subpoena. Even if you get first two items as gifts, you still need to pay taxes on them; failing to do so will grant you another gift: a subpoena, which actually is tax-free. Instead of giving you the responsibility to comply with taxation and spend money on other associated-cost on personal possessions, a subpoena only comes with the responsibility to appear before court or other legal proceedings and come up with some really simple stuff such as:
  • DNA samples
  • Blood test information
  • Insurance records
  • Medical bills
  • Employment records
  • Income tax returns
  • Computer files and most likely downloaded materials
  • Photographs, video files, graphs, charts, and other less sophisticated documents
Another good thing is that you don’t have to acquire all those things on your own; there are professionals to help. Subpoena comes in two distinct types: ad testificandum and duces tecum. The former is much less terrifying because it only asks you to testify before court or other legal proceedings. Depending on how well you testify, you could either walk away with nothing to bother your mind every night or are found responsible for some bad things you did. The latter is quite a work because you are required to produce documents or tangible evidence of some activities, usually crime. Similarity between them is that both are quite mouthful.

What is Subpoena
A subpoena cannot read so it will trespass anyway
The subpoena itself is merely a court order that does not specifically tell if you are guilty of anything. However, it typically comes with a serious threat – if you fail to comply, you will be penalized; it could be jail time, fines, or even both.

  • Good News for Prosecutors: a subpoena is usually good news for prosecutors because they have legal rights to obtain information or evidences so they can prove or disprove their client’s case. Civil attorneys often subpoena individuals to get relevant information that may settle or win a dispute; the same thing applies to criminal attorneys. Subpoena can be used for non-criminal trials as well, for examples divorce and custody cases.
  • (Usually) Bad News for the Guilty: for the indicted, a subpoena is often a bad news. Innocent people are probably even eager to see a subpoena so they can deliver testimony and provide evidences that prove they’re not guilty of anything; they need to appear before court to prove their innocence.
In many instances, a subpoena is issued and signed by an attorney on behalf of a court where the attorney is authorized to practice law. In the event subpoena is issued for government officials such as senators, governors, secretaries, or head of agencies, it must be signed by administrative law judge as well.

Best Served Loud

Once a subpoena is issued, it may be served in various manners such as hand-delivered (or personal delivery), emailed, mailed, or read aloud. For many reasons, you may not want it to be read aloud in front of you especially if you are the indicted – there are many other unpleasant things to enjoy than hearing a court order. Because you rarely check your emails and too lazy to pick letters lying around in front of the doors, a subpoena is probably best served through personal delivery and read aloud, too. There is no reason for the person who delivers the subpoena to assume that you are not illiterate.

The first thing to do when you receive a subpoena is NOT ignore it. Even if you don’t understand a word stated in the subpoena, just pretend that you do and put your serious face for some seconds. You must know exactly what the subpoena is requesting for and what you need to bring before court. Rest assured that a subpoena is usually very specific about its request; it is not a manual instruction to assemble a cabinet from IKEA.

Assuming you are neither of two parties in a case – you did not file any lawsuit and were not indicted for anything – the subpoena may only require your presence to provide testimony. In this situation, you should receive attendance fee and transportation cost either in form of check of cash. However, you must remember that a subpoena is never something you should ask for anytime you are short of money.

The only circumstance in which you can actually avoid or reject the request stated in a subpoena to produce documents, testify, or even appear before court is when the request violates your Fifth Amendment constitutional rights; you may have to read it for the first time just to get a glimpse of what the paragraphs looks like. It is much easier if you hire an attorney to read it for you.