Is it Legal to Ignore a Subpoena?

Ignoring or refusing to comply with a subpoena that has been served on you and not attending court for a deposition can have serious consequences. While it is not technically illegal to do this, a court may impose certain sanctions upon you such as holding you in contempt of court. Being held in contempt could result in monetary fines or even temporary jail time depending on the circumstances. For this reason, it is critical to comply with a subpoena and show up to court even if the matter ultimately ends up being resolved because the attorneys are able to negotiate a resolution. 

Moreover, if you or someone you know has been served with a subpoena, contact an attorney right away. It is critical to have legal representation in such a matter – even if you are not a party to the underlying lawsuit.

Subpoenas Explained

There are two types of subpoenas – those for individuals and those for documents. Simply put, a subpoena is a legal document ordering a certain person or entity to attend or provide testimony in a court of law at a specific time and location. Likewise, a subpoena may require the person to produce certain documents regarding the matter at a specific time and location. The person subpoenaed will need to discuss or provide documentation regarding the investigation, legal proceeding, or other legal matter in question. 

Generally, subpoenas are issued by the following individuals:

  • The judge that is presiding over the case at hand;

  • The clerk of the county where the lawsuit is taking place;

  • A private attorney who is representing on party involved in the lawsuit; or

  • A government lawyer, if a government agency is participating in the case.

The subpoena is presented to the individual and his or her attendance is required. 

It is important to comply with a subpoena. Failure and refusal to do so can result in sanctions and monetary fines. When the distance required to travel under the subpoena order is significant, some monetary compensation may be available to the person complying. This could include compensation for travel costs as well as an attendance fee. If the person being subpoenaed or the documents being subpoenaed are not relevant to the case, or if the subpoena is invalid, the person should still appear and explain. This also applies to someone who believes that he or she was incorrectly subpoenaed or should be removed from the case.

Contact an Attorney for Help

Simply put, it is not a good idea to ignore or disobey a subpoena even if you do not believe you should be involved in the matter. Whether or not you have to comply with the subpoena is an issue that is addressed after showing up at a specific place and time ordered. If the subpoena is valid, it is important to hire an attorney to ensure the person is not manipulated or tricked into being involved in the case or helping the wrong party.

If you have been hurt in an accident in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Nevada due to the negligence of another, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today.

(image courtesy of Shoaib SR)