If I received subpoena for a criminal case by regular mail and I live in another state now, am I required to go?

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If I received subpoena for a criminal case by regular mail and I live in another state now, am I required to go?

A criminal case happened last year where I was living. I had no involvement in

it other than being a roommate. The police questioned me at the time if I had

any knowledge of the incident. I did not. A few months later I moved to another state. Now I live nearly 200 miles away. The DA send a subpoena via regular mail, no signature required, to my old address, and the post office forwarded it to where I live now. I called the DA’s assistant and left voice messages explaining that I don’t live in the area anymore. So far nobody has returned my calls. Am I still required to go?

Asked on March 28, 2018 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF the subpoena was properly "served" (sent by the right mechanisms, as required by Oregon court rules and law) on you, you'd have to appear, but would likely be entitled to travel expenses (again per the court rules). You can find a copy of the OR court rules online; look-up or download them and see how they needed to serve a subpoena on an out of state person--if it required something other than regular mail, then service was defective. If service was defective, you do not need to appear; defective service makes the subpoena ineffective. I suspect that this was defective; my state (NJ) for example does NOT allow simple mailing to an out-of-state person but rather requires service to be made via an attorney or sheriff in the state in which you are trying to serve the person. But check your court rules to be sure.


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