Recently, the majority of my cases have involved Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVRO). In many of my cases, collecting evidence is crucial to the success of the case.
One of the best legal techniques that can be used to collect your evidence in your DVRO case is the use of subpoenas. There are several types of subpoenas in California. In DVRO cases in California, I often use the Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing (SUBP-001). This form requires the person being served to appear at a hearing or at a trial to testify. If you want that person to also bring documents to the hearing or trial, you serve that person with a Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents, Electronically Stored Information, and Things at Trial or Hearing (SUBP-002). With my clients, I usually recommend investing in this legal technique, as it is effective, inexpensive, and fast.
In a recent case, I was able to summon the personal appearance of three (3) police officers that were dispatched to my client’s home at the time of the incident that resulted in a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). With the request that the three officers appear at the trial to testify, I was able to request for the officers to bring any and all pictures they had taken during the dispatch call relevant to my client’s case, bodycam footage captured and mentioned in the police report, and all notes they had taken during the dispatch call. This use of the Subpoena allows for a more thorough understanding of the case, allows for the evidence to be authenticated by the witness, usually resulting in less hurdles in having pictures, reports or videos allowed into evidence. Usually, when requesting a person to appear at a trial or hearing, there is a witness fee involved.
As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove in court.” Overall, the use of a Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing is an effective way to prepare for your DVRO case, show the opposing side that you are prepared to go to battle, and strengthen your case increasing your chances of success.