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Criminal Case, I've been Subpoena as a witness..

Bakersfield, CA |

Okay, I have been subpoena as a witness in a criminal case, and the subpoena wasn't delivered to me straight. They went to my boyfriends house and handed it to his mother and she said she would give it to me 'if she seen me, but let them know that i didnt live there and that she doesnt know where i live'. anyways they have went a couple of times to hand her another subpoena after another and she keeps telling them 'that i dont live there and she doesnt know where i live'. Not to mention this is a criminal case and they have yet to have handed me a paper themselves and the court dates have been changes and postpone and so on.. So should i show up or should i not, since i really dont want to testify against my boyfriend.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Generally, proper service of process on a person is either handing it to them or handing it to an adult at their residence. There are exceptions and some jurisdictions allow substituted service. If you were not porperly served, you cannot be found in contempt of court for failure to appear. However, you need to contact a local attorney in your area to determine if the service to your boyfriend's home, was proper service on you.


  2. In California, a subpoena is not deemed effectively served unless it is handed to the person directly. Subpoenas sent via mail are only deemed served IF the person contacts the party serving them and identifies themselves by name and DOB or driver's license number.

    The circumstances you described, the prosecutor cannot establish proper service of the subpoena.


  3. Unless they hand you the subpoena personally, you are not legally obligated to go.


  4. Doesn't sound like proper service based on what you have posted, but this doesn't mean that they wont perfect service at some point.