We just received a Subpoena to testify and don't want to go. What should we do?
Take careful considered action!
First things to doWhen you receive a subpoena, the first thing you should do is see who issued the subpoena to you. It could be from a Grand Jury (read on for more info about grand juries), the district court, or one of the parties to a legal action. You should also verify whether the subpoena came from a federal or state court. All of that information should be on the face of the subpoena, as well as the telephone number of the person to contact if you have questions.
What does it mean?A subpoena is a piece of paper you should respect because, if it is lawfully served and you do not honor it by showing up at the date and time identified on the subpoena, you can get into trouble. Under most circumstances, a subpoena must be handed to you by a sheriff's deputy or another impartial person who is paid by a third-party for serving process. You are also entitled to be reimbursed for your time and travel expense in appearing at the place you are asked to appear. This sum should be paid to you ahead of time and most reputable folks make arrangements for payment of the subpoena even before it is served.
Next stepsIf you still have questions, call the number of the person listed at the bottom of that first page and ask. If you do not receive an answer you feel is satisfactory, you have every right to contact an attorney and describe the situation. The attorney may charge you some modest amount for the advice, and that is a good investment, because you do not want to get into more trouble than you really need by just ignoring a subpoena. Let your attorney make the proper contact with the responsible persons and provide you sensible information on how to proceed. It saves time and money in the long run.