Must criminal subpoenas be served in person to be valid?

I have been subpoenaed once in person and once by mail to testify at jury trial for domestic violence. The first time was at the defendant’s arraignment. I am the “victim” and witness for the prosecution. Due to the specifics of our case, I do not want to testify against my fiance. Can a warrant be issued for my arrest upon ignoring a mailed subpoena?

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, a subpoena to attend trial (civil or criminal) must be personally served upon the third party witness. Unless it is served in such a manner, the person desired to attend trial does not have to attend.

If you ignore a subpoena to attend trial that was personally served upon you, the result is that you can be held in contempt by the court for ignoring the subpoena to attend trial with possible fine or jail.

I would not ignore the subpoena that you were personally served with.

Good luck.


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