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What happens if a witness disobeys a subpoena in a misdemeanor case?

Mohegan Lake, NY |

I have three misdemeanors against me in a village court. One for criminal mischief (kicking a garbage can) and two for contempt for disobeying a temporary protective order (the criminal mischief and then asking the petitioner for a peaceful resolution).

If there was a non-jury trial and she didn't show up even though she was subpoenaed what is the worse that could happen to her? A fine? If so, how much?

The DA would need her as a witness.

I'd rather not have a misdemeanor on my record but I could also just plead to one misdemeanor and probably walk away. Is it worth it for me to see if the she would be amenable to helping me? I don;t want to get her in trouble.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

It sounds like you are contemplating seeing if "she" would help you by ignoring a subpoena. If that's what is being considered let me say in the strongest possible way to STOP. You will get yourself in considerably greater trouble and risk putting here in jeopardy as well. Better idea for you would be to have competent legal representation.

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

This was suggested by my attorney.

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

Then all I can say is WOW!!!!!

Asker

Posted

I just spoke with another attorney who said witnesses don't show up all the time. What's the big deal? It's only a misdemeanor case not a felony, it's doubtful the courts will go to the trouble of doing anything.

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

You are entirely free to make your own choices in this matter; indeed, only you can ultimately make that decision. As far as witnesses failing to show up "all the time", that strikes me as a gross exaggeration. Certainly it happens on occasion, and like you, any witness subpoenaed to attend court can choose whether or not to comply. A subpoena is a court order commanding the witness to attend at a stated time and location. WITNESSES who choose not to obey that directive do so for a variety of reasons, and I would be inclined to agree on a run-of-the-mill misdemeanor case neither the prosecution that requested the subpoena nor the court that issued it is likely to get bent out of shape. When the decision not to obey is occasioned by some influence originating with the Defendant, it's a whole different ball game. Worst of all possible scenarios is where the idea or suggestion to exert influence in that matter comes from a lawyer. That would be a gross distortion of the system, and I'm quite certain that if the entity charged with licensing lawyers in your state came to believe that your attorney suggested such a course of conduct his/her license to practice would be pulled in a New York second. Both you and the attorney would be in violation of your state's statutes prohibiting tampering with witnesses. I'm confident that you will make a decision, what you've supplied in terms of the history of your decisions does not bode well. Btw, I'm through trying to enlighten you on this issue.

Asker

Posted

Thanks!

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

You are most welcome; hope it was of some value.

Posted

Attorney Jones is absolutely correct.

Please do not even consider taking any actions to interfere with the prosecution of this case. You are setting yourself up for a whole heap of trouble far worse than the three misdemeanors you are facing.

Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.

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William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

Thank you counsellor. Did you read the comment the questioner posted to my response?

Posted

You need to address this with your attorney as he/she is in the best position to evaluate your strategy.

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2 comments

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

You either could not or did not read the questioner's comment to my response; I highly recommend you look at it.

Edwin Drantivy

Edwin Drantivy

Posted

Yes, the comments are certainly enlightening. Competent legal representation is a must here and any advice to intentionally disobey a subpoena is without a doubt improper.

Posted

BIG NO NO - YOU BOTH COULD WELL BE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE!!!!

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.

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Asker

Posted

Um, but don't witnesses not show up all the time? What kind os SERIOUS TROUBLE are you talking about? We want to work together to help the other person. One hand washes the other.

Posted

If the prosecutor is really intent on making her a witness, s/he can seek a material witness order. Otherwise, contempt of a subpoena penalties are not a great deterrent for not showing up. What does your attorney have to say?

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.

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William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

The answer to your question is found in the first comment to my response.

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