Read my guide on how to prepare for trial if you do not have a lawyer -- then determine what facts you need to provide and what witnesses you will need to prove them. For witnesses who will not appear voluntarily on your behalf, you will need to obtain a subpoena and serve the witness with the subpoena to ensure their presence at trial.
Getting the Subpoena
If the person resides in Wisconsin, you can in essence "force" them to appear in court or else face sanctions with a properly issued and properly served subpoena. To obtain a subpoena, simply ask the clerk of small claims court for the blank form, and fill it out properly.
Serving the Subpoena
Once you have properly filled out the subpoena form, you will need to have a county sheriff or private process server, serve the subpoena on the witness and provide "proof of service" for you to provide to the court in the event that the witness does not appear at trial. The witness must be served in a reasonable time prior to trial. This will entail additional cost -- but depending on your case -- the cost might justify ensuring you can prove your case or your defense at trial.
Every witness being served with a subpoena, must at that same time, be provided with a check in the amount of the witness fee -- currently it is currently $16.00 plus $.20 per mile, for the round-trip mileage from the witness' house to and from the courthouse.
Additional resources provided by the author
These steps and the links below will assist you in obtaining, preparing and serving a subpoena on a witness to compel their appearance at trial.
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