A subpoena is a legal document that you can use to summon an individual or other parties substantial to your case to attend your court proceedings. Apart from that, it can also be used to request important evidence or paperwork for your case. In a way, it eliminates the hassle of uncooperative witnesses, which prevents you from reaching a favorable settlement. However, before serving any subpoena, it is important to ensure that it adheres to all legal requirements to be valid. So, what makes a subpoena invalid California and other states’ laws stipulate?

What Makes a Subpoena Invalid

Generally speaking, local courts have limited jurisdiction over people who are residing in other states. That is why you would see a lot of subpoenas served from California to witnesses in other states pending by their respective courts.

What makes a subpoena invalid California and other states’ laws stipulate is that when they are not filed in the state court where the concerned witness or recipient is based. Basically, the said court will be the one to issue such a document. However, it will be so much easier when the recipient is residing in the same state as you.

In addition, a subpoena can also be invalid for technical reasons. For example, it is served without supplying conduct money to the recipient to comply. Or, it does not adhere to the reasonable time and manner of service that makes it difficult for the recipient to comply.

business law

Subpoenas that do not follow the specified rules will be deemed invalid, and recipients do not have to respond to them. So, before serving one, it is important to know the proper procedures and regulations therein.

For more useful information on filing and serving this document, you can visit this page, https://drlegalprocess.com/california-subpoenas/.

When Is Serving a Subpoena Applicable

Typically, a subpoena is a legal document used to obtain evidence or substantial information from a non-party witness. For example, a business records subpoena California process servers make is used to obtain original versions of a document from an individual as proof to be presented at court for litigations between an employer and employee. In other situations, it is used to summon a person to appear in court.

Before you file a subpoena to be issued, though, your counsel must first investigate whether or not the recipient is willing to present the evidence or themselves in court. It will save you a great deal of time if they agree to do so with only an informal request for evidence. Even so, you still need to use a subpoena—which is backed by a warning of sanctions for disobedience—to ensure the recipient’s cooperation.

Depending on your situation, a subpoena may also not be the best method to obtain evidence. There are also other means that you can use as permitted by California courts or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Serving a Subpoena: Steps to Take

Because the testimony and evidence are crucial to the success of your case, it is important to serve a subpoena in a proper and timely process. Here are the steps that you should take.

  1. File the subpoena at court.

The first step is to obtain the necessary forms from the court’s clerk and fill them out. After you complete them, you will then be handed out the subpoena. When receiving it, make sure it is already notarized and signed by the issuing lawyer or judge, as this makes the document legally binding.

Make sure to also create a second copy of the subpoena, as this is the one that will be sent to the recipient, while you keep the original copy.

  1. Find a process server.

After you have obtained the subpoena, you need to find a professional process server, who will deliver the document to the recipient. Depending on the method your chosen server uses, they can:

  • Deliver the document in person.
  • Mail the copy of the document through California or the US Postal Service.
  • Send a soft copy of the document through email.

It is the process server’s job to ensure the subpoena is received by the right individual or party by verifying the recipient’s name before sending the document and requesting a confirmation email. In case they are delivering the document by hand, they will not leave it unless they are sure they are giving it to the right person.

  1. File an affidavit or proof of service.

Once you have confirmed that the subpoena has been served, you must file an affidavit or proof of service with the help of your lawyer at the assigned court. This document should contain the details of the delivery, such as the process server and the method and time through which the document was served.

Together with the original copy of the subpoena, you should keep the proof of service, as it may be necessary in case the recipient fails to present evidence or fails to appear in court.

Finding a Process Server

In today’s technologically driven world, you can just do a “cheap process server near me” search online and find a number of options in an instant. However, this does not always guarantee you the best professionals available in your city or state. If possible, you need to perform some due diligence on your part to find the best process server for your situation.

The Latest Law Firm Marketing Trends That Will Be Everywhere in 2020

Check with your local courts

Your local courts are the best places to start looking for a process server. Sure enough, they have a list of registered and certified professionals who can get your subpoena served.

While this list does not necessarily contain the best process servers, at least it has names of professionals these courts would highly recommend for your situation.

Look at their experience

Ideally, the process server that you choose should already have extensive experience in delivering subpoenas, including those for hard-to-locate recipients. During your assessment, you can also check if they are known for staying on schedule when serving these documents.

If possible, know their success rate. While 100% success rates are impossible due to the nature of the business, a high one indicates that they are the best option to consider.

Share as much information as possible

When the time comes to interview a process server, provide them with as much information as possible. These include primary and alternate addresses, description of the recipient, place of employment, vehicles, usual work schedules, and other personal information. A good process server in California should show confidence in delivering your subpoena in the most efficient manner based on these details.


Asking a witness or any involved party to come forward or provide evidence is not always an easy task. By knowing what makes a subpoena invalid California and other states’ laws stipulate, as well as following the proper procedure with the help of a professional, you can make things easier on your end.

For more information on the law, feel free to check out the other articles on our site!