A subpoena is a court document signed by a judge ordering a witness to attend court to give evidence. If you are served with a subpoena you must attend court, even if you do not want to. If you attend court you must answer all the questions asked under oath honestly. If you disobey a subpoena you can be arrested and held in jail on a witness warrant. If you refuse to answer questions you can be held in contempt.
Sometimes court proceedings are scheduled for many days over a long period time. Being forced to attend court on every day can be a significant interruption in a person daily life. A person who is subpoenaed can contact the lawyer who is looking to call him/her as a witness to determine when or if his/her evidence is needed. If a witness’ evidence is only required for a short specific time, the witness can ask the judge of the court that issued the order to be excused until it is time to testify.
Other times a subpoena is served on a person who lives in a different town and cannot afford the travel to testify. In a case like this the witness being subpoenaed should contact a lawyer that can make alternate arrangements with the courts and other lawyers. Sometimes the prosecutors will pay for travel for key witnesses on cases.
Sometimes if a subpoena is served improperly a criminal lawyer can bring an application to the court and asked that it not be enforced. If you have received a subpoena to court a defence lawyer can help by explaining the process of testify to you in better detail. You are entitled to independent legal advice and an experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the court system in case you are ordered to testify.