If I recieved a letter saying that I must attend court as a witness buti t does not say subpoena or warrent on it, do I have to go?

It would be extremely uncomfortable.

Asked on September 18, 2012 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are party to the action (defendant or plaintiff), a letter is enough--there is no need to subpoena a party.

If you work for a party to the action, your employer (or their lawyer) could require you to testify or else lose your job, so in that sense, no subpoena is necessary.

Otherwise, a subpoena should be necessary to require a non-party witness to attend against his or her will. From what you write, it would seem that you do not have to attend, but it would be much better to contact the judge's chambers or the court clerk, describe the letter (or if necessary, fax them a copy to look at), and ask whether or not you have to attend--since you could be sanctioned for not attending if your attendence was required, you want to confirm whether or not you have to do.

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