If you have never received a subpoena before, you may have many questions regarding what will be required of you. One of your main points of concern is whether you need to respond to the subpoena or if you can simply ignore it. However, it is not in your best interest to ignore a subpoena as you may raise unwanted speculation as to why you failed to respond, or you could be held in contempt of court.
At Dod Law, APC, our criminal defense attorneys have more than 18 years of experience helping clients protect their rights and interests. If you have been issued a subpoena, contact our team of legal professionals to get help understanding what your next steps should be.
Are You Obligated to Respond to a Subpoena?
When you are issued a federal subpoena, it is crucial that you respond. Regardless of how disinterested you may be in assisting with the government’s investigation or if you have concerns that responding could lead to further issues for you down the line, you will be breaking federal law if you ignore it.
While you are required by law to respond to the subpoena, the manner in which you respond and what that response may entail is not as clearly defined. Although it is not advised that you ignore the subpoena completely, you will have three options of how you wish to respond:
Fully Comply With the Subpoena
The response that the government will be hoping for is that you choose to prepare to deliver testimony in court or provide all requested records without holding any information back. This may be a viable option if you are not the target of the investigation. While you may feel you have nothing to hide, it is crucial that you speak with a trusted criminal defense lawyer before complying with the government’s requests.
Withhold Any Privileged Information and Documents
When you have been issued a federal subpoena, you are permitted to withhold any information or documents that are protected under:
- The privilege against self-incrimination
- The attorney-client privilege
Additionally, investigators cannot force you to give up your fifth amendment rights or compel you to disclose any information that has been shared in private with your criminal defense attorney. While it is your right to withhold any privileged information or documents when you choose to respond this way, it is essential you work with an attorney who can ensure you have a clear plan in place so that you still follow documented procedures and remain in compliance.
Challenge the Subpoena in Whole or in Part
You may challenge a federal subpoena on various grounds. The specific grounds and procedures for challenging a subpoena depend on:
- The type of subpoena you have been served
- The federal agency that issued the subpoena
Depending on the details of your specific case, you may be required to meet and confer with the investigating agents before you can submit a formal challenge to the subpoena. In other cases, you may proceed directly with filing a motion to challenge the subpoena, in part or in whole, in district court. You should speak with your attorney to decide what the best option will be for your case.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney
If you ignore a federal subpoena, you could be facing serious legal consequences as a result of breaking federal law. You may be concerned about what happens if you ignore a subpoena, with the help of the legal team at Dod Law, APC, we will work with you to ensure that your interests are protected as we proceed with your response.