There Are Several Potential Legal Options to Challenge a Subpoena to Testify in Federal Court

There Are Several Potential Legal Options to Challenge a Subpoena to Testify in Federal Court

There are several reasons why you might not want to testify if you have been served with a federal subpoena. Giving testimony before a federal agency or in federal district court is risky in any setting, and there’s no reason to put yourself in danger unnecessarily.

Of course, if you’ve been summoned to testify, you can’t just refuse to appear. If you do, you may be subject to a motion to compel, as well as accusations of contempt of court. This is a criminal crime under federal law, and refusing to testify while being required to do so can result in a large fine and a prison sentence. Learn the potential options a federal defense attorney could use to challenge your subpoena to testify and then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.

There were service issues

A duly served subpoena ad testificandum is required to compel testimony. The nature of the subpoena (i.e., whether it is an administrative or judicial subpoena) and, in the case of judicial subpoenas, the jurisdiction in which the subpoena is served, determine the conditions for valid service.

Several government agencies have implemented rules that make genuine service possible through nearly any method. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States, for example, allows for service in person, delivery to the summoned party’s office or house, mail, fax, and service on the subpoenaed party’s legal counsel by any of the foregoing methods.

You may not be forced to testify in response to a subpoena ad testificandum that was improperly served on you; but, you cannot disregard the subpoena. You should retain legal counsel to submit a move to quash in the appropriate court, and you should also expect the agency or party that sought or issued the subpoena to simply seek to have it re-served via permitted means.

Issues of jurisdiction

Jurisdictional issues, in addition to service issues, can justify efforts to quash subpoenas ad testificandum. When either I the court that issues the subpoena lacks jurisdiction over the case at hand, or (ii) the court’s (or agency’s) subpoena power does not extend to authorize service of the individual from whom testimony is sought, a jurisdictional issue arises.

If you have grounds to dispute a subpoena ad testificandum on the basis of lack of jurisdiction, you must file a motion to quash (or, in some cases, engage in a “meet and confer” process with the issuing agency). While alleging a jurisdictional issue, similar to invalid service, may afford temporary relief from the requirement to testify, it is rare that an investigative agency or litigating body will simply abandon its efforts to get testimony in response to a jurisdictional dispute.

These are just two options that can provide short-term options. If you want to learn more about them, or learn how Chambers Law Firm can work to find a way to permanently quash the subpoena, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 now.

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