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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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what happens if you ignore a subpoena

By Spodek Law Group | July 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:32 pm

Ignoring a Subpoena: Why This Causes Big Problems and How an Attorney Can Help

You arrive home to find official court documents ordering you to produce documents, testify, or appear before a grand jury. Your first instinct may be to ignore what looks like a meaningless legal formality. This would be a serious mistake with real consequences. If you receive a subpoena, consulting with an attorney should be your very next step.

This guide explains what can happen if you disregard a subpoena, how experienced counsel can protect your interests, and where to find the right lawyer for your situation. The risks of moving forward alone are too great. You need a knowledgeable attorney in your corner.

Understanding Subpoenas and Your Obligations

A subpoena is an official legal document issued by a court or government agency demanding a person or entity take a required action such as:

  • Testifying as a witness
  • Producing specific documents or records
  • Appearing before a grand jury
  • Providing fingerprints, DNA, or other evidence

Legally, you must comply with a properly served subpoena or face penalties that include substantial fines and even jail time for contempt of court. Subpoenas should never be ignored without counsel’s advice.

However, all subpoenas are not created equal. An attorney can analyze your subpoena for defects like insufficient service, procedural errors, unreasonable demands, or violations of privilege. This assessment requires specific legal expertise.

What Can Happen If You Ignore a Subpoena?

Failing to comply with a valid subpoena can trigger severe consequences including:

Contempt of Court – Judges can levy thousands in fines and jail time for contempt when subpoenas are ignored.

Obstruction Charges – Prosecutors may threaten obstruction of justice or obstruction of a grand jury charges. These are serious federal felonies.

Bench Warrants – Courts can issue a warrant for your arrest for defying a subpoena.

Damaging Inferences – Refusal to comply allows damaging speculative assumptions about your guilt.

Revoked Licenses – Ignoring subpoenas related to regulated industries like finance or healthcare can prompt revocation proceedings.

Reputational Harm – Defiance generates negative publicity, stigma, and draws greater scrutiny.

Fines, arrests, jail time, charges, revoked licenses, reputational damage – the stakes involved with ignoring a subpoena are extremely high. Tread very carefully.

How Can a Lawyer Help With a Subpoena?

Before responding to a subpoena, an experienced attorney can advise you on:

Assessing Validity – Lawyers determine whether the subpoena is technically defective or invalid due to errors.

Limiting Scope – Counsel negotiates with the issuer to narrow subpoena demands that are overly broad or burdensome.

Asserting Privileges – Attorneys raise legal objections to preserve privileged, confidential, and protected information.

Strategizing Compliance – They help formulate smart approaches to selectively comply without harming your case.

Seeking Protective Orders – Lawyers file motions fighting problematic subpoena requests and demanding remedy from the courts.

Avoiding Contempt – Counsel staves off fines and arrest by negotiating reasonable compliance, asserting defects, or seeking relief.

In short, competent legal advice provides options for dealing with a subpoena strategically while avoiding penalties. Never move forward alone.

How to Find the Right Lawyer to Help With a Subpoena

If you receive a troubling subpoena, where can you turn to find legal help? Start by asking business associates, friends, and mentors for referrals to qualified attorneys with relevant experience. Contact state bar associations to vet credentials. Search online for client reviews.

Look for lawyers and firms with specific backgrounds handling subpoenas including:

  • Civil litigation and discovery experience
  • White collar criminal defense backgrounds
  • Records in negotiating with government investigators
  • Experience fighting subpoenas on behalf of clients

Additionally, research federal public defender offices which routinely assist clients with responding to subpoenas. While unable to provide recommendations, they can offer very useful perspective.

Cast a wide net in your search process and thoroughly vet multiple attorneys before deciding who to hire. Move quickly, but make an informed choice.

Choosing the Right Subpoena Attorney for You

Carefully assess subpoena lawyers across these important criteria before making hiring a decision:

Years Handling Subpoenas – More experienced attorneys have seen a wider variety of subpoena issues.

Relevant Subpoena Experience – Opt for counsel with specific backgrounds tailored to your situation such as criminal defense, securities litigation, etc.

Negotiation Skills – Choose a lawyer capable of arguing persuasively to limit subpoena scope and modify demands.

Litigation Abilities – Select an attorney able to file motions to quash subpoenas and assert your rights judicially.

Communication Style – Make sure your personality meshes well with the lawyer’s. Trust is crucial.

Staffing Resources – Pick counsel with ample support to quickly assess the subpoena and formulate a response strategy.

Cost – Understand fee structures and secure estimates in writing to protect your budget.

Do not leave your choice up to chance. Vet subpoena lawyers thoroughly across all of these criteria before making a hiring decision. Also schedule initial consultations with top choices.

Let Spodek Law Group Handle Your Subpoena Issues

Here at Spodek Law Group, our experienced litigators regularly help clients respond to subpoenas from courts and government investigators including the SEC, FBI, IRS, and more. We offer strategic counsel every step of the way.

Our proven approach includes:

  • Analyzing subpoenas for any defects or invalidity
  • Seeking to limit overbroad or unreasonable subpoena demands
  • Asserting all applicable privileges and protections
  • Strategizing selective, thoughtful compliance
  • Filing motions to squash when necessary

Don’t go through a subpoena alone – seasoned legal advice changes everything. To discuss your situation in confidence, contact our team 24/7 at 212-300-5196. Let our experience work for you.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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