Subpoenas are a power tool often underutilized by attorneys. Whether the case is
civil, the lawyer for either party has the power to serve subpoenas on people
or businesses that aren’t even a party to the litigation. It is
an order of the court compelling a party to show up and testify or possibly
provide certain evidence or records.
The subpoena may be a subpoena duces tecum or business records subpoena.
This kind of subpoena compels the person or entity to provide certain
documents. The subpoena might just be a regular subpoena, which compels
the person to attend the hearing and provide testimony at a certain time.
When may a subpoena be helpful?
- For obtaining videos from businesses who may be reluctant to provide such data
- For obtaining records
- For obtaining cell phone information
- For ordering someone to come testify in court, especially when they might
not be willing to. There are often times when a witness or other third
party doesn’t want to get involved or participate. The subpoena
then forces them to attend. If they don’t, it is deemed contempt
of court and a warrant could be issued.
The trick though, is in getting them served with the subpoena. If they
aren’t properly served, it doesn’t have any legal effect.