What’s the Difference Between a Summons and a Subpoena?
The primary difference between a summons and a subpoena is that a summons denotes the beginning of a case, whereas a subpoena comes after the court case has started.
How to Prepare a Subpoena in California
- Take a blank Subpoena to the clerk to have it issued: Take a blank Civil Subpoena (Form SUBP-001) to the clerk. If you also want the witness to bring papers to the hearing (or trial), use a blank Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) (Form SUBP-002) instead.
- Fill out the Subpoena: On the subpoena form, write in the full and correct name of the other party or witness.
- Make copies of your issued Subpoena: Make at least 2 copies of the Subpoena. One for you and another for the other party or witness.
- Serve the Subpoena: Serve a copy of the Civil Subpoena on the person you want to come to court. It must be served within a “reasonable time” in order for the other person to be able to travel to the hearing (or trial). Anyone, even you, can serve your Subpoena, but this must be done IN PERSON (not by mail).
- Return the Subpoena to the clerk before your hearing (or trial): At Commercial Process Serving, Inc., we proudly serve the Central Coast from our offices in Ventura and Santa Barbara.