December 20, 2014
How to Subpoena a Witness

It is often very helpful to have a witness in court with you who knows first hand the facts of the case and can support your point of view. Or, you may need documents or records to prove your case.

If your witness will not come to court voluntarily, or will not voluntarily provide the documents or records you need, you can subpoena them. A subpoena is a court order which requires a person to come to court. A Subpoena Duces Tecum is a court order which requires a person to bring certain papers or records to court. These documents must be delivered to the court on or before the date of the trial.

You can get a subpoena or a Subpoena Duces Tecum from the Small Claims Court Clerk. A copy of the subpoena must be delivered to the witness personally. Any person, including yourself, may deliver the subpoena.

You must return the original subpoena, the one with the seal on it, to the court. Serve the copy.

A witness can ask for fees of $35 per day and 20 cents a mile each way. Witness fees for law officers are higher. If a witness asks for fees, they do not have to appear if they are not received. The person who serves the subpoena should be prepared to pay the fees at the time of service if they are requested. If the witness does not ask for fees, you do not have to offer them.

To subpoena documents or other papers, ask the Clerk for a Subpoena Duces Tecum.

You will need to know exactly which documents or papers you need, since Subpoena Duces Tecum must be served with a copy of a declaration describing the documents you need. The declaration is part of the subpoena that the clerk will give you.

After the subpoena is served, a Proof of Service form with the original subpoena must be filed with the Small Claims Court Clerk before the hearing date.

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