Serving Subpoenas

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In Chapter 14, we discuss subpoenaing witnesses and documents. The rules as to who can do the serving are the same as those set forth in "Serving an Individual," above, with one important difference: Any person, including the person bringing the suit, can serve the subpoena. In addition, in many states, the person making the service must be ready to pay the person subpoenaed a witness fee on the spot if it is requested. This is often a flat fee (normally $40-$100), plus a mileage fee based on the distance to the courthouse. If you hire a sheriff or marshal to do the service, he or she will ask you to pay this fee, plus the service fee, in advance. In many states, if the witness doesn't ask for the fee, it will be returned to you. (See Chapter 14 for details.)

A witness must be served with a subpoena far enough in advance of the court hearing date to give the witness "reasonable time" to prepare for and travel to the hearing.

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