NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 29th August 2023, 03:02 am
About Federal Subpoenas: Can You Be Forced by the Government to Appear?
You cannot be forced by a federal agent of the Secret Service, FBI, IRS or Assistant United States Attorney to visit their office, regardless of the reason for the request. While you do not have a legal responsibility to do so, you may choose to comply after speaking with an attorney. Although there is no requirement to show up to an office, that is not the case for a courtroom. You can be forced to appear in a courtroom in some situations. When this is the case, being ignorant of the law is not a defense.
Reasons to Remain Silent
There are many great reasons why federal criminal lawyers often tell their clients to remain silent when being questioned by federal law enforcement. Although many people believe they are providing statements or sharing documents that will exonerate them, there are many instances when they are providing information that will lead to conviction during a trial. An attempt to cooperate can potentially be detrimental. Many people do not know about their Miranda Rights, which is the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. Similarly, they may not be unaware of what the laws says about being asked to meet with a federal agent in an office.
Speaking or meeting with a federal law enforcement agent and providing them with documentation requested before you have secured counsel can mean providing resources that will be used against you in a criminal case. This has the potential to cause problems for your defense. Providing information after being served with a subpoena can be a serious mistake.
Different Types of Federal Subpoenas
If you or your business receives a federal subpoena, it can be one of many types of federal subpoenas. Different agencies send their own subpoena. For example, you could get a subpoena from the FDA, FBI, or even Congress! For starters, there is a trial subpoena that a federal court issues for the objective of getting your appearance at a specific place, at a given time, in order to testify in court during a federall case.
There’s also the Grand Jury subpoena; this consists of 23 people that the federal court gathers for the purpose of hearing preliminary evidence to decide if there is sufficient proof that a business or individual committed a federal crime. The Assistant United Stats Attorney issues this kind of subpoena that requires you to provide documents, records or testimony before the Grand Jury. This is a secret hearing and you may not know what is being investigated.
The third type of subpoena is administrative. Most of the time, this type of subpoena requires you to provide records or documents related to a federal investigation that is ongoing. This type of subpoena is for the purpose of gathering data about possible crimes.
Complying with a Subpoena
If you’re wondering whether or not you must comply with a subpoena, the short answer is yes. However, there are always exceptions, which is the case for many aspects of the law. A subpoena must be reasonable in what is being requested and legally valid. Additionally, it can not be overly burdensome and it cannot violate an individual right that is granted by the Constitution.
Benefits of Counsel When Served with a Subpoena
Although there is no requirement to have a lawyer before responding to a subpoena, there are many benefits to having counsel. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help you figure out if the subpoena complies with the law. They can pinpoint any issues that might help you get around disclosing information that you don’t want to disclose. There is a possibility that a lawyer will challenge the request.
In many instances, a lawyer can help you prepare for testimony and give guidance on how to provide the information requested. There is also a possibility that you will be able to provide information to prosecutors instead of standing before a Grand Jury. Whether you want to comply with a subpoena or challenge it, not having counsel can result in undesirable consequences. Attorneys have a level of knowledge that is beneficial in many ways. It’s possible that a lawyer will prevent you from providing details that have not been requested. Sometimes incriminating information is provided even when it was not demanded.
Another possible problem is providing inaccurate information that might be considered a half truth or misrepresentation. Being dishonest, outright lying to a federal law enforcement officer or obstructing justice in some other way is considered a felony offense. In fact, both are punishable by law and can result in a maximum of five years of incarceration. It’s possible to believe you are in compliance, yet there is still the appearance of a falsehood, fraud against he government or misrepresentation. Any of these issues can be problematic. An experienced lawyer can help you protect your rights and avoid criminal liability while navigating the entire process.
Understanding Federal Subpoenas
What Happens if You Ignore a Subpoena?
In a nutshell, ignoring a federal subpoena is a bad idea. You are required by law to respond to the subpoena. When you ignore a subpoena, you’re actually creating more questions for the prosecution. The courts, specifically the U.S. Courts, will want to know why you chose not to comply and what you’re hiding. You could also be held in contempt by the court.
Options and Consequences of Ignoring a Federal Subpoena
There are significant risks to ignoring a federal subpoena, without the likelihood or rewards. When you ignore a subpoena, three things happen:
1. The investigators will assume there’s a reason you’ve chosen not to comply.
2. You’ll face a motion to compel.
3. You’ll face contempt of court charges.
How Can You Respond to a Subpoena?
While you are required by federal law to respond to the subpoena, there are several different ways that you can respond:
1. Fully comply
2. Withhold privileged information or documents
3. Challenge the subpoena
Steps of Working with a Subpoena
There are also multiple phases you might encounter when working with a subpoena:
1. Reviewing the subpoena
2. Completing an internal review to determine what information might be subject to privilege
3. Contacting investigators
4. Meeting with investigators
5. Filing a motion to quash the subpoena
6. Preparing a response to the subpoena.
For more information on federal subpoenas and the legal process, you can visit the official website of the U.S. Courts at https://www.uscourts.gov/.
Will I have to attend the deposition?
Understanding Depositions: What You Need to Know
Getting a subpoena in the mail or in person can quickly cause anxiety and stress, but knowing the ins and outs of a deposition – and if you even have to go at all – can help ease your mind.
Do I Have to Attend the Deposition?
There’s no short answer for, “Do I have to attend the deposition?” If you’re being deposed, then you must attend. However, if the opposing party is being deposed, you are not technically required to attend, although you may want to just for the sake of hearing their side of the story. The first thing to consider is who is being deposed, and the second is whether or not you want to be present for the deposition based on personal reasons.
Confirming the Subpoena
If you’re the one being deposed, you want to make sure that the subpoena is in fact for you. Subpoenas are legal requests by the opposing party or by a court to appear at a type of legal proceeding. Many subpoenas will be delivered in person, but it’s also possible that you’ll get one in the mail. If you’re mailed a subpoena, it’s not uncommon for it to go to the wrong person, so double check that all of your personal information is correct.
Preparing for the Deposition
If you determine that you do have to show up because you’re the person being deposed, make sure to have all the necessary paperwork with you on the day of your deposition. The subpoena may list the documents that you have to bring with you. If you’re unsure of which documents to bring, don’t simply ignore the subpoena – contact the attorney who is listed on the subpoena and ask for clarity.
What to Expect at the Deposition
Remember, a deposition isn’t a hearing or a trial. Instead, it’s a meeting between the clients and their lawyers. If you’re being deposed, the attorneys will ask you questions. You’ll be under oath, so it’s important to answer honestly. There will be a court reporter present who will be recording the questions you’re asked as well as your answers. Sometimes the meeting will also be recorded with audio or video. At the start of the deposition, you’ll get a sort of warmup from the opposing lawyer. This means that he’ll ask you easy questions that you won’t have to mull over. For example, you may be asked about your marital status or where you grew up. Don’t take this opportunity to chat – simply answer the question briefly and move on. Even though the opposing lawyer may be acting friendly, that doesn’t mean they’re actually your friend. When you’re being deposed, make sure to only answer the questions you’re asked – this isn’t necessarily an opportunity to argue your side of things. If you’re unclear on how to answer a question or you don’t understand a question, you should ask for clarity or ask to speak with your attorney. Also, it’s fine to pause after being asked a question if you need extra time to think of your answer. Whenever possible, answer with simply “yes” or “no” – don’t elaborate if you don’t have to. If you’re not asked a “yes” or “no” question, try to keep your answer as short and succinct as possible.
Consulting Your Attorney
Ultimately, attending a deposition that isn’t your own is a personal choice. Ask your attorney for their advice – they may have specific reasons for why you should or should not attend.
Your Guide to Understanding Federal Subpoenas
Hey there, let’s chat a bit about Federal subpoenas, and how the system works. No need for formality here, we’re just going to have a chat about what this all means. Now, you might hear a bunch of stories about FBI, IRS, Secret Service agents, or even Assistant U.S. Attorneys forcing folks into their office – well, let me tell you, that’s a no-go. It’s not how the law operates, okay?
Now, a courtroom – that’s a different story. There are situations where you could be hauled in to testify, even as you maintain the right to button up.
The Federal Case – Friend or Foe?
Here’s the thing, you could be a witness, a target, a subject, or a person of interest in a federal case. At Spodek Law Group, led by the fantastic Todd Spodek, we make sure people understand their rights – specifically, their “right to remain silent”. Sure, you might want to prove your innocence, or cooperate to ease the process, but remember, sometimes it’s the things you say or share that wind up getting you in a pickle on trial.
Decode the Subpoena Jargon
Trial subpoenas, Grand Jury subpoenas, administrative subpoenas – it might sound like a bombardment of legalese, but basically these are just orders for you to show up in court or hand in documents. And oh, a subpoena duces cum, that’s basically an order demanding that you present certain documents or records.
What about Compliance?
Straight up, there’s no easy yes or no about complying with a subpoena. It’s got to be legally valid, reasonable, and not infringing on your constitutional rights. That’s where someone like Todd Spodek can really help you out. His lawyer chops can help figure out if you can sidestep a subpoena, and the best ways to tackle it, legally speaking.
How Important is Legal Counsel?
Should you get an attorney if slapped with a subpoena? Heck, yes! It’s not about hold-your-hand, it’s more about knowing how to navigate legal waters. Having the right attorney can literally block potential nasty consequences from storming your way.
All About Subpoena Duces Tecum
Boy, that’s a mouthful, right? Subpoena Duces Tecum. Well, it’s just lawyer-speak for a court order that says “hey, bring this specific evidence to court”. It’s pretty much used in criminal cases, where either defense or prosecution needs to bring out some crucial evidence for their case.
What Does It Aim to Do?
A Subpoena Duces Tecum is there to make sure evidence isn’t being hidden away. It can swing either way, helping the prosecutor or you as the defendant.
How does Subpoena Duces Tecum Work?
Personally served or sent by certified mail are acceptable ways to be issued a Subpoena Duces Tecum. It’s got to follow procedure, and say stuff like the court’s name, the title of the proceedings, and have the court’s seal. Yep, they’re picky about that. If it doesn’t, then you could challenge it. But here’s where we come to the heart of the matter – if you refuse to cooperate, the court might hold you accountable, and trust me, fines or jail time are no joke.
How Can You Challenge It?
So, suppose you want to challenge a Subpoena Duces Tecum – you’ve got several options like arguing the evidence asked is irrelevant, burdensome, or protected by some privilege. But remember, these objections have got to follow certain court-set procedures and timelines.
Benefit of Using SDT
SDTs might seem like just one more legal hassle, but they can be really beneficial when trying to secure vital records. Not only that, but they can shake loose any witness holding onto any info crucial to your case.
Remember, the expert defence attorneys at Spodek Law Group are always ready to lend a hand and guide you through any legal maze you find yourself entangled in. So why wait? Contact us today!