Can I do anything to get out of appearing in court?

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Can I do anything to get out of appearing in court?

I received a subpoena which was not properly served and I would like to know if I can get out of appearing in court. I have told the party that I cannot benefit them in this case.

Asked on March 18, 2019 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the subpoena was not properly served, you do not have to go -- this time. However, if they reserve the subpoena properly, you will have to go. (And be careful: we assume you are not an attorney and are not expert in service or court rules; if you are wrong and the subpoeana was in fact served properly, if you do not go, you will be subject to punishment for contempt of court.) The fact that *you* told the party you will not benefit them is irrelevant; if you may or possibly have relevant or useful information, they can force you to testify, and you do not get to the make the determination as to whether you have anything relevant to say--only the judge does. If you feel strongly enough about it, you can make a motion to "quash" (think: "squash") the subpoeana and let the judge decide, since only the judge has the power to let you out of testifying. In my experience as an experienced litigator, however, judges don't like to quash subpoenas; if there is any chance you may know something relevant, they will let your testimony go forward.


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