What is a subpoena duces tecum?

A subpoena duces tecum is an order from the court that requires that you appear with certain documents (books, papers, or other physical evidence) or electronic data. Sometimes, this kind of subpoena is called a “subpoena for the production of evidence,” and it’s usually requested when the parties involved in a case, or their attorneys, need documents from a third party not involved in the case. In the state of Tennessee, this subpoena can be served by a sheriff, one of the attorneys in the case, or by a Private Process Server. Once you get a subpoena duces tecum, you must appear in court and bring the requested documents with you.

Is a Subpoena Duces Tecum the Same as a Subpoena?

A standard subpoena, also called a “subpoena ad testificandum,” is different from a subpoena duces tecum which does not require the third party to testify in court. All that’s required is for the third party to present the necessary documents. Sometimes, both types of these subpoenas are combined in court. For example, if a person is summoned to give a deposition, he may also have to present the required documents. This is a common practice in court.

In the past, a subpoena duces tecum usually required that a person deliver the specific items to the court where the case was taking place. However, today it is more common for the documents to be delivered to the attorney’s office that originally creates the request. The subpoena duces tecum usually includes a date and time for the delivery of these documents, and if this deadline isn’t met, the third party can face penalties.

If you have any questions regarding subpoena duces tecums or any other type of subpoena, don’t hesitate to contact the Holton Law firm at 888-443-4387. We’re happy to help you, or you can also explore our Frequently Asked Questions page on our website.