In most if not all jurisdictions you have to be personally served with a subpoena for it to be effective. However if you receive a subpoena signed by a judge and you don't appear, you could be held in contempt and arrested. Many times DAs get behind and don't look at the next trial until a few days before the trial. To be safe, if you receive a subpoena, you should appear. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Personal service of process is required in criminal cases. Even in a civil case a subpoena is required to be served upon a resident in your household who is thirteen or older. You have not been properly served to require your appearance in court.
The way you described the scenario it appears that the subpoena was not properly served on you as required in a criminal case. As explained before, the subpoena requires a personal service and absent that it would be hard to show that you intentionally effected contempt of court by not showing up without personal service.
The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone a specific legal advice. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding.
Further take notice that the site should not be used as a crude substitute for any professional and competent legal advice by a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction.
The attorney above attempted to provide competent professional information, however, the law and its applications may change frequently and vary greatly from other U.S. jurisdictions and locales.
Therefore, any information and materials provided above are general in nature, and may not apply to specific factual and legal circumstances related to one’s personal legal issues.
Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State under an attorney-client privilege to further receive a competent legal advice before making any important decisions about your particular legal issue.
For further inquiries please contact:
Attorney Alexander Ivakhnenko