Without going into detail I was a witness to a crime and have been called to testify in court. I intend to appear as ordered by the subpoena but am concerned that I may not be the best witness. The incident happened several months ago and I've forgotten many details of what happened that day. I also to answer any questions as directly and honestly as possible. I am concerned however that I may inadvertently misrepresent the facts of that day do to the lack of memory. If that happens will I be held criminally liable? Do I need a lawyer.
Do not ignore a subpoena. The judge has the authority to order a contempt citation against a person properly served with a subpoena that does not respond. A money fine and a court appearance to defend the contempt charge are natural consequences that follow for someone that ignores a valid subpoena.
Challenge by Motion
If you have a valid challenge to what is sought in the subpoena you can make a motion to limit the scope or reach of the subpoena before you comply. For this you will be best served to hire and use an attorney as your advocate before the judge to make such a challenge.
It sounds like you have been properly served a subpoena to appear in court versus a subpoena to produce records. Obey the subpoena because if you do not show up as ordered the Judge may issue a warrant for contempt of court and then you will have to appear in court to defend the contempt charge and pay a fine.
As far as your memory goes you are only expected to answer to the best of your recollection and that is fine. If you do not remember what you witnessed say so. You should call the person who issued the subpoena and talk to them to determine if your testimony will be needed. Sometimes subpoenas are issued without too much thought.
This communication does not create an attorney / client relationship.
You should contact the attorney who sent the subpoena. If he or she believes that your testimony is important, you should not worry about the deficiencies in your testimony. You are only being asked to give your best testimony. You should not need an attorney to do this. As long as you tell the truth, there will be no basis to take action against you. Perjury is for knowingly giving false testimony.
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