A subpoena is a way to ensure you have the evidence you need to bring to court. You can subpoena witnesses or documents to guarantee their presence in court. Generally, subpoenas are reserved for difficult or stubborn parties.
A witness who fails to comply with a subpoena may be held in contempt.
What Is the Difference Between a Subpoena and a Summons?
A summons is similar to a subpoena in the sense that it is a notice of a court date that requires the recipient’s presence. But the difference is they are given to different people, at different times, and for different purposes.
What Is a Summons?
A summons is given to the defendant to notify them that they are being sued. It gives them time to prepare their case and appear at court to defend themself.
How to Send a Summons
Another word for a summons is a “service of process.” It must be served in one of the following manners.
- By Certified Mail – Not all cases allow this method, so be aware. If you do use this method, you need a restricted delivery with a return receipt to prove that it was delivered. Take note of the date of postage and bring the return receipt to court.
- By a special process server- You must fill out a Motion to Appoint Special Process Server if you want to use this method.
- By the Sheriff -You will need to pay a small fee for service and provide the original and two copies of the summons and complaint. Once they have served the summons, the Sheriff will fill out a sworn statement and file it with the Court Clerk.
What Is a Subpoena?
A subpoena is used to compel a person to give a deposition, appear at court, or provide documentary evidence. You must serve the subpoena to the person in question.
How to Send a Subpoena
A subpoena requires an unwilling witness to come to court and provide testimony or documents. It is also used during discovery to uncover evidence so that you can prepare your case. A subpoena may be used for documentary evidence or deposition.
To send a subpoena, you need to fill out a form from the Court Clerk’s office. You must pay the witness’s travel costs and a witness fee if you subpoena them. The clerk will help you to calculate the amount you must pay.
A subpoena may be served by any adult, including you. You must serve the subpoena and the payment in the form of a money order either by certified mail or in person. If you send it by mail, you need to request a return receipt and restricted delivery. Keep the return receipt and bring it to court.
If you need to send a subpoena during discovery, you only need to send the subpoena form; you do not need to send any payment.
What Happens If I Ignore a Summons or Subpoena?
You should not ignore either the summons or subpoena. Instead, you should consult a lawyer.
A summons is a notification that you are being sued. You do not have to do what a summons says, but you will lose the case by failing to respond or appear in court to defend yourself. In some cases, this may mean that you have to pay money to the plaintiff.
You cannot ignore a Citation to Discover Assets summons. This means you owe someone money and could face serious consequences for failing to appear in court or ignoring the summons.
It is illegal to ignore a subpoena and is seen as hampering court proceedings. The court will hold you in contempt if you ignore a subpoena which could result in fines or jail time. A subpoena is used in all types of cases. If you receive a subpoena and do not want to testify, speak to a lawyer.
What If The Summons or Subpoena Was Improperly Served?
If you are improperly served a summons, notify your attorney. Do not file an appearance; instead, attend the court date and tell the judge you were served improperly. The judge will likely give the plaintiff a chance to serve you again.
If you are improperly served a subpoena, you still need to follow its instructions. Talk to your attorney about the subpoena and discuss your rights immediately.