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What Is an Information Subpoena?

Contempt of court charges can be filed if a person does not obey an information subpoena.
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  • Written By: Charity Delich
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2014
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An information subpoena is a legal document that requires a person or entity to provide answers to certain questions contained in the document. It is typically issued by a court at the request of a party who is seeking information from another party. The person or entity who receives the subpoena must answer all of the questions in the document within a certain number of days.

If the subpoena questions aren’t answered within the allotted time period, the issuing court may hold a hearing to determine whether the non-compliant party will be held in contempt. At the hearing, the non-responding party will need to provide the court with an explanation of why the questions weren’t answered. If the party is found in contempt, he or she may be fined or even sentenced to time in jail.

In general, an information subpoena is made up of two key components. First, the subpoena usually contains an order from the court for someone to provide answers to the questions contained in the document. In addition, the document contains the actual questions that need to be answered. A court clerk often coordinates the paperwork required for an information subpoena to be issued. Depending on what kind of information is being requested, the clerk may also provide standard questions. A nominal fee may be charged in some jurisdictions for the subpoena.

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Once an information subpoena has been issued, it must be properly served on the party from whom information is being sought. The requirements for service vary from one jurisdiction to another, although many jurisdictions allow a subpoena to be served by certified mail. After the document has been delivered, the server may be required to complete an affidavit of service.

Information subpoenas are perhaps most commonly used in cases involving debtors and creditors. In this situation, a creditor has typically been awarded a judgment against a debtor. In order to receive payment for the judgment, the creditor may need to use an information subpoena to find out where the debtor’s assets are located.

The creditor may issue the information subpoena to the debtor as well as to any other person, company, or entity that is likely to have information about the debtor’s assets. For instance, a creditor may serve a subpoena to produce information on the debtor’s employer, landlord, bank, or utility company. Once the receiving party receives the subpoena, he or she ordinarily has to respond to it within a certain time period.

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