If you have been subpoenaed, it is important to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible. Subpoenas are formal court orders requiring you to comply with certain instructions. Failing to comply can lead to criminal charges and fines. If you’re already facing criminal charges, you want to make sure you don’t do anything to hurt your case.

Subpoenas can be complicated. Your lawyer can review it with you and advise you on how to make sure you fully comply. Your lawyer can also help you fight a subpoena when appropriate. Regardless, you need legal advice to comply and stay out of trouble. 

What Does a Subpoena Require Someone to Do?

The first step towards understanding a subpoena is knowing what a subpoena can require someone to do. There are two main types of subpoenas in Plano, Texas. You could be subpoenaed to appear in either federal court or state court. Subpoenas may be issued in civil cases or criminal cases.

The first type is a court order to come to court and testify about a particular subject. The second type is sometimes called a subpoena duces tecum. This type of subpoena requires you to bring evidence to court.

Some types of evidence frequently subpoenaed include:

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Business records
  • Photographs
  • Other documents

Both types of subpoenas are very common. Whether your subpoena requires you to testify or requires you to produce evidence, you should make sure you prepare for your court date with a lawyer to fully understand your legal duties and rights.

Do You Have to Comply With Subpoenas?

Yes, you are legally required to comply with subpoenas. While there are some limited legal tools your lawyer can use to fight a subpoena, unless the court tells you otherwise, you are bound by a subpoena and forced to comply.

If you fail to obey a subpoena the court may penalize you with criminal charges.

Criminal penalties for failing to obey a subpoena may include:


Additionally, if you fail to comply with a subpoena the jury will likely be instructed that they are allowed to assume the missing evidence supports the case against you. This is called a negative inference. 

Subpoenas may bring important constitutional rights into play. For instance, if you face potential criminal liability, you may be able to invoke your Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. However, you need to discuss your possible criminal liability and your Fifth Amendment rights with your attorney. They can advise you if taking the Fifth is proper or not. It is important you get legal advice before taking the Fifth. 

Can Your Lawyer Use Subpoenas to Your Advantage?

The answer is yes – your criminal defense attorney can issue subpoenas in your case.

Your attorney may issue subpoenas to require favorable witnesses to come testify. They can subpoena documents that may contain evidence of your innocence. Subpoena power is one of the most powerful tools a criminal defense lawyer has at their disposal. 

As you discuss your case with your attorney, they will create a list of defense witnesses that they want to subpoena. Your criminal defense lawyer will know the proper legal process to create, file, and serve a subpoena that is valid and legally enforceable. 

Whether you have been subpoenaed and have questions about complying, or would like to use subpoenas in your criminal defense, an experienced Plano criminal defense lawyer can help answer any questions you may have. Many lawyers offer free consultations, so you’ll be able to ask some general questions to learn how best to proceed.

To learn more, call our criminal defense law firm at (972) 424-0760 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.