If an out of state subpoena is delivered by regular mail, am I required to go?

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If an out of state subpoena is delivered by regular mail, am I required to go?

I used to live in Seattle. No longer living in the state. I was mailed a subpoena by the assistant DA for a criminal case at an old landlords home. I am being called a potential witness but I have no information.The subpoena was sent to an old address and forwarded to me. It was delivered by regular mail, not certified, no signature required. I live in Oregon now. Is it still valid? I called the DA paralegal and said I no longer live in the area. I was told the police would call me for an interview. A detective called me several days ago and asked me some questions that would be given to the DA. Since then I have called and left messages with the paralegal who has not returned my calls. I did not say I would make the drive and they know I don’t live in the area. The paperwork only gives a court date, no time, and it says to call ahead because the trial could change. I have called twice this week. Am I legally required to go even though it was given by the DA, delivered by regular mail, not signed by a judge? I was not offered anything to go.

Asked on April 20, 2018 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, service was not valid and the subpoena is not enforceable on you. While there are times that service by mail is allowed and effective (the default, or usual way to serve, is personal service--e.g. hand delivery by someone), effective service by mail requires either simultanous service by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail; or a judicial order allowing service by only regular mail. Simply sending a subpoena by regular mail only without a judicial order authorizing it is not effective.
Here's a link to information from the OR court system which you may find helpful: http://www.courts.oregon.gov/Multnomah/docs/FamilyCourt/HowToServeDeliverLegalPapersInOregon.pdf


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