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Criminal Subpoena


A subpoena commands the appearance of an individual and/or the production of specified items before the court of issuance.

Issued By

It may be issued by a Judge, Magistrate or the Clerk of Court upon request by either defense or plaintiffs attorney. Subpoenas are also issued by the clerk, signed, sealed, and otherwise blank, to Federal agencies and attorneys.

Territorial Limits

A criminal subpoena may be served anywhere within the United States or its territorial possessions, or in a foreign country pursuant to 28 USC 1783, however the U.S. Marshals Service does not make the service in a foreign country.

Served By 

Service may be accomplished by a United States Marshal, Deputy US. Marshal, or any person who is eighteen years of age or older who is not a party to the case.

Manner of Service

A copy of the subpoena must be personally served upon the within named individual. in person. If a non-incorporated company or partnership is to be served, services can only he made on the legal owners or partners. Service should be made on a corporate officer or a person designated as an agent, for the purpose of accepting service, if the Subpoena is for a corporation. The original is returned to the court through the United States Marshal for the issuing district."


The individual serving the process shall execute the return in the space provided at the bottom of the subpoena original or on a Form USM-285, and then shall forward it to the court of issuance through the United States Marshal for the issuing district. The required fees must be tendered to the witness upon service of a subpoena on behalf of a defendant.

Note: The information related to the service of court process that is contained on this web site is general information and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process. Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28; their local U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for specific, authoritative guidance.