Skip to main content

Have I been legally served a subpoena?

Citrus Heights, CA |

{Witness, Criminal Trial, CA Superior Court} I returned home from being out of town and saw a subpoena from the DA was left for me with my roommate, I didn't see physically see the subpoena until 6 days after it was left at my residence, with my roommate. The server was made aware of my absence and then the server left the subpoena/subpoena duces tecum papers (2), but no "proof of service" paper, and told my roommate to have me call the person requiring my attendance, (DA), whenever my roommate talked to me next, which was 6 days later, on a Saturday. I called and left message with DA and DA left one back, but we have yet to speak on the matter via phone or in person. I told the DA I was back in town and available to be served. Now what should I do? was that as a legal service of subpoena?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. They gotcha dude. The trick with these DA subpoenas that are not served personally is that if you call and say anything that indicates you have the subpoena and are aware of the date you must appear. If you don't contempt of court. Shouldn't have made that call.


  2. Good question. I suspect Mr. Kamen is right, but I know in Sacramento when a person doesn't show up for court and the DA requests a bench warrant, the Court routinely asks the DA if they have personal service. The DA then has to produce and file with the court the subpoena and prove they were personally served. If they don't have personal service, then they cannot get a bench warrant issued. I have seen many times when the DA calls out for a witness in the audience and when they don't respond, the DA does not ask for a bench warrant. However, there is something called "substituted service", wherein a roommate or family member is served if they know the person lives there. By calling the DA you did acknowledge you got the subpoena. I just don't know if a judge would issue a bench warrant. I suppose to be on the safe side you should show up for court.


  3. I generally agree with Mr. Kaman, a very knowledgeable and extremely competent attorney.
    I cannot tell ffom your post with any degree of certainty an number of things.
    First, do you want to testify in this case? Thhe tenor of your post implies that you do. If so, do not worry about the technicalities and appear as requested.
    Could also read post as you are willing to appear as a witness but the timing is inconvenient. If so, call DA and try to arange an on call status. Inform your employer.
    It is also possible that you really do not want to apper at all. In that case, you need to discuss the issue of service with your own attorney.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.

Violent crime topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics