Asked in Criminal Law, Divorce, Family Law and Domestic Violence for Virginia

Q: How can I get a subpoena without a lawyer? May I object to questions on interrogatories due to dress?

How can I get a subpoena without a lawyer?

May I object to questions on interrogatories due to dress? The questions are absolutely placing me under duress and giving him all of the criminal evidence used against him

2 Lawyer Answers
Sonja Aoun
Sonja Aoun
  • Tysons Corner, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: In some cases, you may request the clerk's office to issue a subpoena for you. The clerks cannot give you advice about how to request the subpoena, but many courts have forms available. A good place to start is the website of the court your legal matter is in. The Supreme Court of Virginia website also has some subpoena forms.

You can make objections to interrogatories and other discovery documents, but duress is not one of the legal reasons to object.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, your city or county has resources to help you. Often you can contact the court and request to speak with a victim advocate.

An attorney can help you with both of these issues. You can also contact the local bar association to see whether they have a referral service if you are having trouble paying for an attorney.

James H. Wilson Jr. agrees with this answer

James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Virginia allows both attorney-issued subpoenas and clerk-issued subpoenas. A party or his or her counsel can file a request for a subpoena to the clerk with any service of process fees.

A party can object to discovery requests in accordance with the Rules of Court, the Rules of Evidence, and Virginia statutory and common-law. The proponent can file a motion to compel after making a good faith effort to resolve the matter. The judge will then decide whether the scope and subject matter of the requests are appropriate and whether to compel discovery. A judge may award attorney's fees and costs, or other sanctions for failing to comply with the discovery process.

Almost everyone suffers some level of distress from being compelled to respond to discovery requests, or to go through the discovery process. Even for lawyers, discovery is usually challenging and tedious, and often contentious. Unfortunately, some litigants abuse the discovery process to raise the cost of litigation. Cases are sometimes won or lost on discovery.

Any pro se litigant facing the challenge of discovery in a case in Virginia would be wise to consult with an experienced Virginia trial lawyer.

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