Can you be held in contempt of court by avoiding being served papers to testify in a criminal case

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can you be held in contempt of court by avoiding being served papers to testify in a criminal case

I’ve been avoiding the sherriff trying
to serve me papers to testify against
my boyfriend in an assault case. Can I
be held in contempt for not being

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Criminal Law, Maryland


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is not illegal to avoid or "evade" service of a subpoena.  However, there are other ways for them to meet the service requirement without physically handing it to you. If they so meet these requirements and you do not show incourt for a criminal matter, you could be held in ontempt of court and have a bench warrant issued for your arrest for failure to appear.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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