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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 11960
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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If you do not answer a subpoena, you cant be arrested for

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If you do not answer a subpoena, you can't be arrested for not appearing in court in Washington State - it's just a scare tactic. True or false?
Thank you for your question.

That would be false. A subpoena (from any state) is an order by the court, or an officer of the court (such as an attorney) directing your attendance at a hearing, deposition, etc. It's not an optional request. If you fail to show, that can be considered contempt of court, for which you could be arrested.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So even if the person in question doesn't want to testify, he/she has no choice in the matter?

For the most part, yes. There are some very limited exceptions in situations such as marital privilege, but otherwise, yes, a person who is subpoenaed to testify must do so.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is it a common occurrence for a witness to not show up? Is it a common occurrence for a warrant to be issued for contempt of court?


I would say it is uncommon for a witness to not show up for a matter. If you believe you have a good reason for not showing up - e.g., you are ill, are going to be out of town, etc. - I would suggesting contacting the issuing party and explaning the circumstances.

While it depends on the judge ultimately - on the rare occasion that I have been present for a witness who did not show up after a subpoeana the judge did order sanctions. While some lawyers will tell you it is rare for a judge to order an arrest, no lawyer can tell a person to violate a subpoena as it would be unethical to do so.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Understood. Do they issue a warrant? How does that work?

Correct. If a person fails to show up when subpoeaned, the judge has the authority to issue a warrant for an arrest.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Understood. Thank you for your time!

My pleasure! Please remember to leave positive feedback if satisfied, as that is the only way I am compensated for my time.

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