How to Subpoena Witnesses and More

Sep 23 2013 | posted by LORR Team

A subpoena is a court-issued document that requires a person, witness, or other party to testify or produce evidence in relation to a specific case or claim. If they fail to testify or produce the evidence in question, they can be held in contempt of court and arrested. Subpoenas are not necessary for every single court case. Often, witnesses and parties will cooperate willingly with an ongoing case or investigation. Sometimes, however, it is absolutely vital to subpoena witnesses and other parties in order to secure the information needed for a case to move forward.

How to Subpoena a Witness
The process for subpoenaing a witness is a very important one. If you fail to follow the legal process for issuing and delivering a subpoena, it could be inadmissible in court, and you won’t get the information or evidence you need from the witness.

Here’s how the process should work when you subpoena witnesses:

• First, the subpoena is issued. This is typically done by the judge handling the case or the clerk of the court who represents them. In some courts, attorneys are considered officers of the court and may issue subpoenas of their own accord. The subpoena will be on court letterhead and will name the person whose testimony or evidence is needed. It will also dictate a time, date, and location for the party to appear before the court.

• Next, the subpoena is “served” to the party involved. This means the subpoena is delivered directly into the hands of the person named on it. This can either be done by the attorney or a third party appointed by the attorney. If the witness is particularly reluctant to receive the subpoena, a third-party service is typically necessary, and the third party will issue proof of service, guaranteeing it was delivered.

• Once the subpoena has been served, it is the witness’ legal duty to deliver the information or testimony requested of them. They will need to attend court on the date and time stated on their subpoena and bring the physical evidence with them or come prepared to give an oral testimony. They also should be ready to answer any questions opposing counsel may have for them. It is possible for the subpoenaed witness to object to being served. If the information sought is of no relevance to the case or if they have no evidence/testimony to offer, they may take it up with the court.

It’s important to note that expert witnesses cannot be subpoenaed. These witnesses are only utilized for their professional opinions, not because they have facts or evidence pertinent to the case. Therefore, they must testify of their own volition.

How LORR Can Help with Your Subpoenas
Are you a legal professional that needs to subpoena a witness – and ensure it’s done right? LORR can help. Whether you’re short staffed, you’re strapped for time, or you just want to make sure your subpoena is in trustworthy hands, LORR is up for the job.

We understand Rule 103, and we’ll ensure your subpoenas are delivered in strict accordance to this law. We also know how sensitive these documents can be, so if necessary, we’ll be as discreet (or aggressive) as possible to ensure you get the information you need – and fast. Once we’ve issued your subpoena, we’ll endorse it and return it to the applicable courthouse. In the rare event that service is impossible, we will thoroughly document our attempts to reach the party or witness, and return the subpoena to court as soon as possible.

Do you need to subpoena witnesses or parties in your upcoming case? Let LORR help. We’ll ensure it gets done quickly, thoroughly, and to the letter of the law. Call us today to get started.


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