Get information to help your case
Once you know what proof you need to make your case, you can start to gather documents and information to use as evidence or ask a person to come to your court date and serve as a witness.
If you can't get the information or the person to come to court voluntarily, the court can order people to give you information or come to court. This is called a subpoena.
Examples of what you might subpoena
Examples of things you might want to subpoena for a court hearing could include:
- Security camera footage from the parking garage where your car was damaged by another driver
- Medical records from the other side
- The apartment manager who will tell the court how clean your apartment was when you moved out
Subpoenas can cost money
You may have to pay witnesses a fee to come to court or make copies of documents.
Witnesses can ask for $35 a day and 20 cents a mile each way when you serve the subpoena. Be prepared to pay the witness fees right then. If they ask for the money before your court date and you don't pay them, they don't have to come.
Bring the witness fees with you to your court date in case the witness asks for them in court. If they've read the subpoena after it was delivered to them it tells them they can ask for fees and sometimes they do.
How to subpoena information or witnesses
Have the court issue your subpoena
Take a blank subpoena to court
Take a blank Small Claims Subpoena (form SC-107) to your court clerk's office. The clerk will sign and stamp the subpoena (issue the subpoena). Bring a separate one for each person, business, or agency you want to subpoena.A few courts post issued subpoenas online. The subpoena will have a Clerk's signature and stamp on them. Check on their website or call and ask if they have them available online.
Fill out your subpoena
Fill out the Small Claims Subpoena (form SC-107) form.
- Write in information about the witness you want to come to court
- Or exactly what papers you want someone to send to the court for your court date
- Or both
If you are subpoenaing a person to come to court, fill out page 1 only.
If you are asking someone to send papers to court, fill out pages 1 and 2.
Do not fill out page 3 yet
Make at least 2 copies of your Small Claims Subpoena in addition to the original. One for you and another for the person you need to subpoena.
Keep the original for the court.
Deliver the subpoena
Hand deliver (serve) a copy (not the original) of the subpoena to the person or business you are subpoenaing.
Anyone, even you, can serve your subpoena, but it must be done in person by someone 18 or older and not by mail.
Fill out page 3
Fill out page 3 of the original subpoena.
Then have the person who delivered the subpoena sign at the bottom of page 3.
Return the subpoena to court
Take or mail your original subpoena to the clerk's office before your trial.
Once you've served the subpoena, the person should come to the court date or bring the items you requested.