If someone is subpoenaed and they can’t make it to court, what should they do?

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If someone is subpoenaed and they can’t make it to court, what should they do?

Asked on April 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A subpoena is a direct order from the court.  If you cannot appear due to circumstances beyond your control (i.e. not just because it's inconvenient or you simply just don't want to) you will need to have permission from the court (either the judge or their law clerk).  If necessary, an attorney can help you with this.  If you fail to appear when requested, a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued for contempt of court.  Accordingly, you could be jailed or fined.


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