How to Subpoena Records in Texas

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Subpoenas are court orders directing a person to appear in court to testify in a case. A subpoena duces tecum is a court order directing a person, business, company or government agency to bring records to court to be used by one of the parties as evidence in a case. Texas civil law combines the witness subpoena with the subpoena duces tecum into a single document.

  • Get a blank subpoena form. Subpoena forms may be obtained from local court clerks in small claims actions in Texas. Blank subpoenas also can be downloaded from the Internet.

  • Fill out the subpoena by providing the required information. A subpoena must contain specific information as required by Texas law. The type of case and the case number must be included in the subpoena. Other information to be added to the subpoena will be the date, the court in which the case is pending, the name of the person or organization to which the subpoena is directed, the time and place at which the records are to be produced, and the name of the party issuing the subpoena.

  • List in the subpoena the records and documents being requested. A subpoena for records in Texas must specify the records the witness is being asked to produce. A subpoena that is too general will be rejected by the court. For example, a party to a lawsuit involving a collision between two cars might make a request for "all books and records in your possession." This would be rejected as too vague or too general. A better request would be for "all books and records pertaining to the automobile accident on March 13, 2010."

  • Have the subpoena signed by the court clerk. A subpoena for records in Texas must be signed by an attorney for a party to the lawsuit or by the court clerk in which the case is pending. The clerk will return the original and a copy of the subpoena to the person or the attorney for service.

  • Serve the subpoena on the person or organization in possession of the records. Any person over the age of 18 years of age who is not a party to the lawsuit may serve the subpoena along with the witness fee required by law. The original subpoena will be returned to the court clerk with an affidavit from the person who served the subpoena. The affidavit must include the name and a description of the person served and the date, time and place of service. An alternative to the affidavit is having the witness sign the subpoena acknowledging service.

Tips & Warnings

  • A subpoena is a legal document which, if used incorrectly, can result serious consequences. An attorney should be consulted before preparing a subpoena.

References

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