It is always a panic-inducing experience when you receive a subpoena. It is even scarier when you receive one out of the blue. When this happens, the first thing that might come to your mind is what you should do next. Before you take any action, you must understand the nature of the subpoena you have received.
A subpoena is a kind of demand provided by the court, requiring you to provide evidence for a court case. A subpoena is similar to a summons, but subpoenas are given only after a court case has already begun. Receiving a subpoena does not automatically mean that you are directly involved in a case. There are times when you receive a subpoena because you are an important witness to a case.
Therefore, before you decide to search for civil litigation lawyers or surf the internet for law firms that can assist you, you need to understand the nature of the subpoena you have received. Generally, subpoenas are necessary because your presence might be needed for evidence, or your appearance can serve as evidence in court.
Receiving a Subpoena
A subpoena includes information such as a request for your presence in court, the matter by which you are summoned, the time, date, and place for your appearance, and a statement of the penalty that will be imposed if you do not show up or refuse to comply with the provisions of the subpoena.
If you receive a subpoena, you must respond based on the deadline specified on the document. If you do not respond, you might end up losing a case by default if you are directly involved in one. If you need to reply to a subpoena, you need to include all the necessary information about the case so that your reply will be filed properly.
If you cannot show up on the specified time, date, and place on your subpoena, you can ask the court for a change of schedule. However, there is no guarantee that your request will be approved. Just remember that failure to respond or show up will result in legal repercussions that might complicate things further.
Evaluate Your Options and Responses
When dealing with subpoenas, the trick is to become meticulous and calculated in all your responses and actions. If you receive a subpoena, there is a big possibility that you are being sued. This can be a very stressful experience for you. However, you can make this experience less stressful if you decide to deal with the situation responsibly.
Ignoring a subpoena will not make it go away. Instead, you are just making the problem worse. You need to pay attention to your response deadline and start composing the best response you can think of. Don’t forget to apply decorum to your response. This way, you will not end up offending anyone even before you have shown up in court.
If you receive a subpoena, you have a lot of options for responding. You can negotiate a resolution with the plaintiff, file an answer, file a motion for a more definite statement, file a motion to dismiss, sue the plaintiff, or do nothing at all. Remember that your actions will always have consequences. Therefore, it is important to think things through before you decide on anything.
What Happens Next?
Once you have filed your response, you need to wait for what will happen next. The consequences of the actions you have taken will depend on the course of action you have initiated. If you have filed an answer and a counterclaim, there is a possibility that the plaintiff will file a response to your counterclaim. After this, the case will have to move forward based on the plaintiff’s response.
If you have filed a motion, the court will need to schedule a hearing to decide. Once the motion is resolved and the case is not dismissed, the case will need to move on from there. Just remember that when you respond to a subpoena, you are in for new challenges that you may never have encountered before. You can always find ways to educate yourself about the subpoena process, but you can also pay for law-related services to get you through the ordeal.
Beyond the Superficial
Since subpoenas are, by nature, stressful and panic-inducing, you need to make sure that you will be able to prepare for your responses and actions. Just remember that everything will go smoothly as long as you fulfill your role and responsibilities. Regardless of the nature of the subpoena, you must respond responsibly. This way, you are guaranteeing positive outcomes by simply adhering to the court’s laws and policies.