If I’ve been subpoenaed to court, do I need to have an attorney with me?

UPDATED: Nov 24, 2014

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If I’ve been subpoenaed to court, do I need to have an attorney with me?

I was involved in an auto accident in which the other driver was cited. I have now been subpoenaed to testify on behalf of the Commonwealth in a Summary Trial of the Commonwealth vs. the other driver. Do I have any need for a lawyer or for legal advice before appearing?

Asked on November 24, 2014 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You really only need to have a lawyer or legal advice if you think that your testimony could subject you to liability of some sort: for example--

--something you say will reveal that you did something criminal, like being DUI/DWI

--testifing will reveal that you were at fault in the accident, and so could be sued

--testifying will violate some settlement agreement (or the like) you signed, in which you promised to keep facts confidential

--you think that the person you testify against may respond with violence or with some trumpted up, ultimately invalid, but still expensive and painful to deal with lawsuit (like for defamation)


If you believe you face some sort of liability or retaliation if you testify, consult with a lawyer. Otherwise, you should be fine without.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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