Peter Blair | September 28, 2023 | Criminal Law
If you find yourself arrested and charged with a crime in California, be assured that one of your fundamental rights is the chance to defend yourself. Everyone is entitled to present their defense before the law, regardless of the nature or gravity of the charges against them.
However, building an effective defense usually requires professional assistance – an experienced defense attorney who understands local laws and knows how to navigate this complex process.
An attorney may have witnesses testify on your behalf and will present certain types of evidence. These can both be done through subpoenas.
Different Types of Subpoenas
Subpoenas are legal tools used to gather necessary information for your case. There are two primary types of subpoenas, and both types can come either from you – the defendant – or the state that is prosecuting your case.
A witness subpoena is issued when there’s a requirement for an individual to physically appear in court. This subpoena compels them to testify under oath based on the knowledge or insight they possess that’s relevant to your case.
How a Witness Subpoena Can Help or Hurt Your Criminal Case
A witness subpoena can play a decisive role in your criminal case. Their testimony could either significantly help or adversely affect your case.
Testimony that strengthens key aspects of your defense or even corroborates your version of events is immensely advantageous and should be pursued aggressively. This may create reasonable doubt about the allegations against you and provide alternative perspectives that sway juror opinions in your favor.
Conversely, if a witness provides testimony that contradicts your account or further bolsters the prosecution’s claims, it could potentially damage your defense strategy significantly.
Subpoena Duces Tecum (SDT)
The second type of subpoena is a subpoena duces tecum (SDT). This kind can be particularly powerful for gathering information. Unlike the witness subpoena, this doesn’t necessitate an appearance in court. Instead, it requires individuals or companies to produce documents or records that could have a significant bearing on your case.
Examples of Documents To Be Produced
A subpoena duces tecum can request a wide variety of documents depending upon the specifics of your case. Here are a few examples:
Communication Evidence: If communication between parties may have key insights, an SDT could demand text message exchanges or emails.
Documentation of Finances: In fraud or embezzlement cases, financial records such as bank statements, income tax returns, and pay stubs might be demanded to trace money.
Medical Records: In cases involving bodily harm, injuries, or death, a subpoena for medical records could be issued.
Each case is unique, and the kind of documents that will prove useful really depends on the specifics of the case.
Serving a Subpoena in California
For a subpoena to be effective and enforceable, it must comply with state and local regulations. These involve specific procedures on how the subpoena should be served, which ensures that everyone’s rights are safeguarded throughout this process.
In the majority of cases, anyone can deliver a subpoena. This opens avenues for using professional process servers or even bestowing this duty upon friends or relatives.
However, in criminal cases in California, peace officers are required to serve subpoenas on behalf of defendants.
Once the service is complete, the officer must document the service. This outlines details of the subpoena delivery: when and where it happened, who received it, and other relevant circumstances of the service.
Consequences of Ignoring a Subpoena
One critical thing to remember about a subpoena is that it’s a valid court order, and ignoring it or refusing to comply could have serious repercussions.
If an individual or company doesn’t obey its demands – whether this means failing to appear in court as ordered under witness subpoenas or not providing required documents per a subpoena duces tecum – they are defying the court which can lead to contempt of court charges.
The punishment for contempt can be severe, including up to six months in jail along with fines reaching $1,000.
The Importance of a Defense Lawyer When Dealing With Criminal Charges
Being charged with a crime – whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony – can potentially have serious, long-lasting implications on your life. This makes having an experienced lawyer by your side extremely important.
Your lawyer’s expertise will assist you in understanding the charges against you, potential consequences, and available options moving forward. They’ll scrutinize evidence generated by the prosecution against you while outlining possible defense strategies.
Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Today For Help
For more information please contact the San Diego criminal defense attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation, give us a call at (619) 357-4977 or visit our convenient location:
Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers – San Diego Criminal Defense Law Firm
255 Broadway, Ste 1740. San Diego, CA. 92101