What are my rights regarding an “On-Call Subpoena”?

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What are my rights regarding an “On-Call Subpoena”?

I received an On-Call Subpoena to testify in court as a witness because the place I rented a room from was broken into while I was at work (my room was not broken into).Tthey caught the guy afterward. This happened 2 years ago. Recently the district attorney contacted me and said that I would be on call to testify this week. Now the time is here and they told me that they will serve me another subpoena for next month. I have moved out of the area and just started a new job. It is frustrating to put everything on hold and now they tell me I have to be on call again. What can I do? Do I have any rights?

Asked on August 20, 2010 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have rights to protect yourself from having to abandon everything you do in your new state and have to incur expenses to come back to court.  If you were simply a witness, you may be able to have your testimony taken via a deposition wherein both parties have the opportunity to ask you questions but understand under the Constitution, the criminal defendant has an opportunity to confront his accusers.  Consider speaking with the District Attorney in the state in which you currently reside and inquire if you can have your testimony taken via teleconference.  Witness unavailability does have many serious implications and if your testimony had been previously taken under oath, the D.A. may have to petition the court to allow that testimony to be submitted in your absence.  This is of course assuming the D.A. allows you to not appear.  If you are still forced to appear, see if the D.A.'s office could cover your expenses (including travel and hotel).  If you do not appear, a bench warrant could be issued for your arrest.


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