What happens if I am subpoenaed to come to court to testify? 

Susan Karpa Criminal Lawyer in CalgaryIf you have been charged or are being investigated, hiring a Calgary criminal defence lawyer is important. I can explain the strategy for fighting these charges, the repercussions of a guilty plea, the nature of a peace bond if applicable, and other related aspects of your charges. Contact us now at 587-888-7149 for a free consultation.

What happens if I am subpoenaed to come to court to testify? 

Before the process of a subpoena is explained, you must understand what a subpoena is. A subpoena is a court order that requires you to appear in a court at a specific time and place. The subpoena is served when it is delivered to you by a peace officer (usually a police officer) or given to someone at your home address to give to you. 

The subpoena is a formal document that requires a witness to come to court. Witnesses provide evidence by way of testifying in criminal matters. Witnesses come to court to tell the court what they saw, heard or did as it relates to the allegation of the criminal offence.

A subpoena can come from the provincial or federal prosecution service, a criminal defence lawyer who represents the accused person, or from a person who is accused and is planning on representing themselves. When a subpoena is served, the person who is being served has a legal obligation to attend the specific court date at that location. 

When a subpoena is delivered to you, the most important step to take is read the information on it. The documents will have detailed information about the time, courtroom, courthouse, and other relevant details. If you do not have the information that you need, there will be contact information available on the document so you can find the relevant details. 

Remember, if you are served with a subpoena, you must appear at the correct courtroom and at the correct time. If you fail to do so, the court could order that a warrant be issued for your arrest.

When it comes to the court process after you are served with a subpoena, you will be asked questions after affirming to tell the truth or swearing to tell the truth. If you do not answer the questions in court, you can be found to be in contempt of court. This can result in a fine or prison time for a set duration. The lawyer (criminal defence lawyer or prosecutor) or the person who requested that you come to court with ask you questions. This is called direct examination, in which the lawyer or person will ask you general questions about the event, what you saw, heard, and did. The next step will be for the opposing lawyer to ask you questions. During the opposing lawyers questioning, they can ask you leading questions. This means that they can limit the length and type of response for a question. The initial party may be able to ask you questions again in a re-direct, but that will be their decision. At that point, you may be allowed to stay or may be asked to leave at the request of the judge. From that point on, you have met all your obligations concerning the subpoena.