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What Happens If You Don’t Show Up For A Subpoena?

April 24, 2024 Uncategorized

What Happens If You Don’t Show Up For A Subpoena?

What Is A Subpoena?

A subpoena is a legal document that requires you to either testify as a witness or provide evidence for a case. There are a few different types:

  • Subpoena Ad Testificandum: This requires you to show up in court or at a deposition to give sworn testimony about something you witnessed or know about the case.
  • Subpoena Duces Tecum: With this subpoena, you must provide physical evidence like documents, records, data, or other objects that are relevant to the case.
  • Subpoena For Deposition: This compels you to show up at a deposition to give your testimony outside of court, under oath.

So in plain English, a subpoena is an official court order that says “Hey you, get over here and tell us what you know” or “Send us those files you’ve got on this case.” Ignoring that order can land you in serious hot water.

What If I Ignore The Subpoena?

If you just blow it off and don’t show up or send the requested documents/evidence, you could face some harsh consequences:

  • Being Held In Contempt of Court: The judge can hold you in contempt, which means you disobeyed a court order. Contempt charges can result in fines or even jail time.
  • Arrest Warrant Issued: The court may issue a warrant for your arrest if you defy the subpoena. Then you could be picked up by law enforcement for failing to comply.
  • Fines: On top of contempt charges, you can be fined for ignoring the subpoena. The amount can vary, but it’s often hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
  • Obstruction of Justice Charges: In some cases, ignoring a subpoena can be considered obstruction of justice, which is a criminal offense that can lead to steeper fines and potential jail time.

The bottom line? Ignoring that subpoena is like playing a dangerous game of chicken with the justice system. It’s just not worth the risk when you could face fees, arrest, or even time behind bars. Sometimes prosecutors will only be fair if you respond with force to them. Without an attorney advising you, you might accidentally plead guilty when you could’ve won the case. The only way to truly know is to hire a private criminal defense attorney. At Spodek Law Group – we pride ourselves on taking a hands-on approach. It means researching the exact situation surrounding your case, and putting in the leg work to be familiar with every single intimate detail. Our firm has excellent work ethics, and we constantly hold firm meetings in order to discuss and address all of our cases. In the event of an emergency – we have a full team of lawyers available to help you.

What Should I Do If I Get A Subpoena?

Okay, so you can’t just toss that subpoena in the trash. But what’s the right way to handle it? Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t Panic: Getting a subpoena can be stressful, but try to stay calm. It’s not necessarily an accusation of wrongdoing on your part.
  2. Read It Carefully: Make sure you understand exactly what the subpoena is asking for – testimony, documents, data, etc. The details matter.
  3. Talk To A Lawyer: This is crucial. An experienced attorney can review the subpoena, ensure your rights are protected, and advise you on the best way to respond.
  4. Raise Any Issues Promptly: If you have concerns about the subpoena’s scope or your ability to comply, your lawyer can raise objections or request a modification right away.
  5. Comply On Time: Assuming your lawyer approves, make sure to appear to testify or provide the requested evidence by the deadline given. Tardiness can lead to the same problems as an outright failure to comply.
  6. Be Prepared: If you’re giving testimony, review any relevant documents and be ready to answer questions accurately and thoroughly. Your lawyer can help you prepare.

Regardless of how tough your situation is – we are here to help you. Our criminal defense lawyers work hard to have a solution for you, irrespective of the situation you find yourself in. Many clients are often embarrassed by their situation, and don’t speak openly about their alleged issue. We encourage open dialogue, and recommend full transparency – so we can give you the best possible legal advice. The key is to take the subpoena seriously from the start and get professional legal counsel involved. That way you can properly respond while protecting your rights.

What If I Have A Legitimate Reason To Miss The Subpoena Date?

Sometimes things happen that are truly out of your control – an illness, family emergency, transportation issues, etc. If a legitimate conflict arises that will prevent you from complying with the subpoena by the date given, you need to act fast. Through your lawyer, you can request that the court modify or reschedule the terms of the subpoena due to your circumstances. But you can’t just not show up. You have to get permission first by explaining your situation and providing any documentation to back it up. If the court agrees you have a valid reason, they can push back the date or alter the subpoena’s requirements. But if you don’t make an official request and simply fail to comply, you could face all those penalties we discussed earlier.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Are There Any Other Reasons To Fight A Subpoena?

While you generally have to comply with a subpoena, there are some limited circumstances where you may be able to get it withdrawn or modified through a “motion to quash.” Your lawyer would have to demonstrate to the court that the subpoena is:

  • Overly Broad: If the subpoena’s requests are unnecessarily broad, burdensome, or not sufficiently related to the case.
  • Privileged Information: Some information may be protected by legal privileges like attorney-client, doctor-patient, etc.
  • Undue Burden: Complying would create an unreasonable burden in terms of costs, disruption to operations, etc.
  • Vague or Ambiguous: The subpoena’s wording is too vague about what’s being requested.
  • Improper Jurisdiction: The court issuing the subpoena doesn’t have proper jurisdiction over you.

However, the standards to quash a subpoena are fairly high. Your lawyer has to make a strong case that complying would violate your rights or is truly impractical and unreasonable. If the motion succeeds, the court can withdraw the subpoena entirely or modify its terms to something more reasonable. But the key is acting quickly with a valid legal argument.

What If It’s A Federal Subpoena?

When a federal agency like the FBI, DEA, SEC, or a U.S. Attorney’s Office issues a subpoena, the rules get even stricter. Federal subpoenas are extremely difficult to ignore or quash. The potential penalties for blowing off a federal subpoena are also much harsher, including:

  • Federal Contempt Charges: Contempt at the federal level can mean steep fines and/or federal prison time.
  • Obstruction of Justice: This federal felony offense carries up to 10 years in prison.
  • Perjury Charges: If you show up but give intentionally false testimony, you could face perjury charges.

The federal government has a very long arm and takes subpoena compliance extremely seriously. So if you receive a federal subpoena, you absolutely must respond properly and have a skilled federal criminal defense attorney advising you. The Spodek Law Group handles cases nationwide. We have offices in NYC and Los Angeles.

Real Life Examples

To really drive this point home, let’s look at a couple real-life examples of people who ignored subpoenas and faced harsh consequences:

Example 1: In 2016, a former hedge fund manager named Michael Shuler was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for repeatedly ignoring subpoenas from the SEC. He refused to turn over documents and give testimony in an insider trading investigation. The judge cited his “continual contemptuous violation of this court’s orders” as the reason for the lengthy sentence.

Example 2: In 2019, a Florida man named Dwayne Wynn failed to show up for a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury in a drug case. He was found in contempt and ordered to be jailed for the full length of the grand jury’s term – 17 months. The judge stated ” He has effectively taken himself out of society for that period of time.”

As you can see, the courts have little patience for subpoena defiance, especially at the federal level. The penalties can be incredibly severe and long-lasting. It’s just not worth the risk.

Call Spodek Law group today at 212-210-1851 or schedule a free consultation online.

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