What Happens if You’re Subpoenaed for a Deposition?

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Being subpoenaed for a deposition can be a nerve-wracking experience that you may be called in for if you are a victim of a crime, witness to a crime, or if you (or a loved one) is somehow involved in a criminal case. This can be stressful but there are a few things to keep in mind that will not only make it an easier experience for you, but also keep yourself protected as well.

Requests for a deposition are placed through a court and issued through a subpoena. Refusing to comply with a subpoena can result in criminal charges of contempt of court in most states, although typically in Marion County they won’t pursue charges over it. However, to be completely safe you should abide by attending. Usually, it will take place at the prosecutors’ office or the defense counsel’s office and will be recorded and typed up by a court reporter. It is recorded so that if you are called to trial attorneys from both sides know what to anticipate your testimony will be. This is why it is important to tell the truth, because if you say something different in court than you did during the deposition, that can compromise the integrity of what your description of events or what you know.  Attorneys will also use depositions to find strengths and weaknesses in the case as well.

Just like giving testimony at a trial, you are expected to be completely honest as you will be under oath. Not having to worry about getting tripped up on lies and forgetting what was said is another crucial reminder to be as honest as possible. Despite this, an attorney can object to questions asked during deposition. It is possible for a judge to overrule the objection later, however. You can also plead the 5th, although if you are taking a deposition as the result of a plea deal you may be barred from pleading the 5th. Situations like this may be hard to be truthful, especially if it may implicate you, but remember that this is a condition of your plea agreement, and it can be revoked if it isn’t abided by.  In these situations, you would definitely want the assistance of an attorney.

During depositions both sides (defendant and plaintiff/state) will have questions for you to answer. These questions can be much broader than they would be during trial as it doesn’t have to relate exactly to the case, as it can be something that MAY relate to the case if the answer you give leads to such. These questions may become very personal, it is important to remember these attorneys are just doing their jobs and looking for the best (or worse, if it’s the state) outcome for the client/defendant. Try not to be snarky, rude, or disrespectful in your answers. Keeping a respectful tone throughout tends to be most effective.

If you are a defendant or witness to a criminal case, or if you are a plaintiff or respondent to a civil case, it may be in your best interests to bring forth a lawyer and put forth clear boundaries with them about what you are willing to answer, what may be considered going “Too far,” and ultimately to be your advocate that is looking out for your best interest. This can help you avoid implicating yourself in something that could’ve been avoided, adding on additional charges to a loved one, or losing a civil case and having an expensive judgment. Depending on the case and your answers, your testimony could be crucial to the case. Keep that in mind when giving answers, because if it is, you will definitely be called to trial. Usually, you won’t know what it is that is considered “crucial information,” so it is best to always be careful, think before you speak thoroughly, and even with an attorney on your side involved, be your number one advocate!

If you are being deposed in any legal situation, call the attorneys at Banks and Brower 24/7 to assist you through that process at 317-870-0019