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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102522
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Im in the process of closing my business. yesterday I received

Customer Question

Im in the process of closing my business. yesterday I received a subpoena in the mail (I did not sign for) from state of xx Consumer Protection & Advocacy Section. asking me to appear to answer questions regarding my business. Because i received subpoena in the mail if i dont show will they have any recourse?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.
I am sorry for your situation.
As part of its investigations, the Commission may “subpoena witnesses . . . and require by subpoena duces tecum or by citation the production of books, papers, contracts, agreements or other documents, records or information . . . which the commission deems relevant or material to the inquiry.” A.R.S. § 44-1823 (1994).
In other words, this state agency has the right to subpoena you for questioning.
If you do not show, then the Section can go to Superior Court and try to get an order to force you to show, and hold you in contempt (admonished, fined, or even imprisoned) if you do not.
In light of this statutory authority, courts give the Commission “wide berth” when they review the validity of Commission investigations. Polaris Int’l Metals Corp. v. Arizona Corp. Comm’n, 133 Ariz. 500, 506, 652 P.2d 1023, 1029 (1982). In fact, “an appropriately empowered agency ‘can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even just because it wants assurance that it is not.’” Id. (quoting United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U.S. 632, 642-43 (1950)).
Now, if they sent it non-certified, one can always deny receiving it. Then, the Section will likely attempt again, this time sending it certified, and if there is no action, try to enforce it.
If they did send it certified and one does not show, one can expect a hearing to be held to force one to show (as explained above) or be held in contempt.
However, one does have resource. If one feels that the subpoena is irrelevant to whatever investigation the Section is concluding, one can file a complaint for special action in Superior Court and argue that the subpoena seeks irrelevant information, and/or is otherwise harassing, vague, and improper. If the Court agrees, the subpoena would be "quashed." However, one need to file in Court to seek this relief, I am afraid.
For this, an attorney is recommended. Let me know if you need a referral.
Surely, you prefer that I tell the truth rather than what you wish to hear. Because it reflects very poorly on me unless you press one of the top three stars, keep this in mind when rating my and please do not punish me for being honest. I understand that this may not be easy to hear, and I empathize.
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