May 23, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

What Is a Subpoena?

3 min read

If you’re considering litigation after sustaining an injury, you may have made mention of a subpoena. The short definition of a subpoena is that it’s an official request by an officer of the court (such as a personal injury lawyer) for documents or for someone to appear in court. It is legally binding and will be upheld by the court. Those who ignore a subpoena will be subject to punishment such as jail, fines, and/or civil or criminal penalties.

Types of Subpoenas

Your personal injury lawyer can explain which type or types of subpoenas will be used in your particular case. There are two main types:

  1. Subpoena ad testificandum. This type of subpoena requires a person to testify in court or to another type of legal authority such as a lawyer.
  2. Subpoena duces tecum. This type of subpoena requires a person to produce information, materials, or documents that are considered evidence in a court case. Those that typically employ this type of subpoena are child custody, divorce, sex offender, and personal injury cases.

The Purpose of a Subpoena

A subpoena offers lawyers the opportunity to obtain critical information for their client’s case, whether it’s a state or federal matter, civil or criminal case.

  • In a criminal case, the lawyer may use a subpoena to procure testimony from a witness to prove or disprove their client or the defendant did or did not commit the crime for which they are being tried.
  • In a civil case, the lawyer may use a subpoena to procure testimony from a witness to prove or disprove the plaintiff or defendant is at-fault. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident, your lawyer may use a subpoena to compel witnesses to testify about the property owner’s negligence which led to your injury.

Additional Reasons for a Subpoena

It is not only people who can be the focus of a subpoena. A subpoena can be used to collect evidence such as:

  • DNA samples
  • Computer files, included photos and other material downloaded from the Internet
  • Blood test results
  • Medical records
  • Insurance records
  • DMV records
  • Income tax returns
  • Employment information

Who can issue a subpoena?

Usually, it’s a licensed attorney who issues a subpoena to someone or an agency. In some instances, the subpoena must be approved and signed off by an administrative law judge who will review the need for it, especially if the subject is a public figure. If someone is representing themselves and is not a licensed lawyer, they might receive authorization to submit a subpoena in support of their case. However, this is unusual.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

If you were injured in an avoidable accident caused by someone else, contact the top personal injury attorneys Atlanta, GA trusts to find out about your legal options. You may be eligible for a substantial settlement for your injury costs, including your pain and suffering. Call us today to request a free consultation with our personal injury lawyer.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer:

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into personal injury. See their website here:

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