The service of subpoenas is perhaps the most obvious way federal, state, or local government offices use their power. But if you are someone who has received one, it can be unpleasant and downright scary. Generally, a subpoena is an official document, sometimes signed by a judge, attorney, or grand jury foreman, seeking the production of documents and / or your physical appearance at an official proceeding.
Perhaps, your subpoena may have been served by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), the New York State Attorney General's Office or a New York State District Attorney's Office. But, no matter which different agency served it, the question you have is always the same: What do I do now?
The simple answer here is the best one: Contact an attorney.
A subpoena is a legal document that carries with it enormous obligations and significant consequences. As a general concept, in the event a subpoena is not complied with, criminal or civil punishment can result. In addition, you may have an urge to contact the author of the subpoena to talk and ask questions. Suppress that urge.
Frankly, it is a very risky endeavor to make statements to someone conducting an investigation that may consider you a "person of interest" or a "target" in their investigation. Even if you are deemed what is referred to as a "subject," you certainly do not want to say anything that will make your status change.
Understand Your Rights
The most important idea to keep in mind is that when it comes to subpoenas, you have rights. For example, if you are considered a "target" in a criminal investigation, let's say by the SEC or the U.S. Attorney's Office, you have the 5th Amendment right to remain silent. The reason for this is because any statements you make as a result of the answering the subpoena may be used against you in any federal, state, local, or foreign administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding. Another important right you have is the right to make a motion to a court to quash, or reject, the subpoena. This may be necessary if, in certain instances, you do not have a reasonable time to comply with the subpoena or it requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter.
Contact Our New York Criminal Defense Firm
Our New York and federal criminal defense attorneys at Sullivan & Brill have represented many clients who have been served a subpoena. If you or someone you know has been served with a subpoena, contact us immediately. We have the experience and the knowledge to answer your questions and offer you t advice on how to proceed.
Schedule a free case consultation when you contact our firm today!