Subpoena Service of Process

Service of a Colorado Subpoena and Legal Papers

Service of process is the procedure used in Denver, Jefferson and Adams County for delivering legal papers to a witness for a hearing or trial. This process is standardized because people are required to come to court or face default judgment, contempt, or a warrant. Regardless of whether it's serving a subpoena or a photo radar ticket for a Traffic Offense, the rules do not change and are the same for all criminal cases.

Service is made by delivering a copy of the subpoena or legal document to the named party. Generally, unless service is waived, a subpoena can be served by anyone who is not a party to the dispute and over the age of 18 - often by a police officer, detective or investigator. The server will sign an affidavit saying that they made personal service on the named party.

When a witness or defendant waives service of a subpoena in Arapahoe, Douglas or Broomfield County, they waive the requirement that a document be delivered to them in person. This allows a subpoena to be served via mail, email or fax. If the party to be served does not waive personal service, then service is NOT proper and the order in the subpoena does not have to be obeyed.

For a Subpoena in the Mail, Do You Have to Agree to Waive Service?

No. You cannot be compelled to accept service via mail and waive personal service.  Case law in Colorado, in combination with Colo. R. Crim. P. 17 (e), clearly establishes that service must be admitted or waived if not personally served in order to constitute valid service.

What Happens When Someone is Personally Served with a Subpoena and Fails to Show Up as Directed?

The court where the subpoena was issued can issue a contempt citation and/or a bench warrant for failure to obey the order.

A contempt citation starts a new legal process where the person who failed to appear has a court hearing on whether they obeyed the subpoena. The same legal rights for any criminal case apply and the DA must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Contempt carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in the county jail.

A bench warrant allows police, sheriffs and law enforcement to arrest the person served and bring them to court. When the person is in court, the judge will set a bond. If the person cannot make bond, that person can be held in custody until they comply with the subpoena.

If you have been charged with contempt of court, the attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office can help you. Be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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