What Your Subpoena Means

A King County domestic violence lawyer will want to know your status if you have been subpoenaed in a criminal case. Are you a target, subject, or witness in an investigation?

King County domestic violence attorney


Federal categories

During a grand jury investigation the prosecutor’s view of your status is important for your lawyer to know. In federal legal terms, those subpoenaed fall into one of three categories: a target, subject, or witness.

A witness usually faces no blame or risk of criminal charges. The next category is a subject, someone who might investigate or simply be called to testify. It is possible that the subject is a person of interest whom the prosecutor has not decided to charge yet, but the investigation may disclose wrongdoing on his or her behalf. The third category is a target, someone the prosecutor wants to indict to face criminal charges for a crime. The target could also be called the putative defendant.

Local Categories

In local legal terms, the definition may be slightly different, but the ideas are the same. Local prosecutors categorize people according to:

  • Individuals they aim to indict.
  • People who are blameless witnesses.
  • Undecideds: Persons of interest who might become defendants or just witnesses depending on what the investigation discloses. Some incriminating factors include the depth of their involvement, whether they profited, their intent, and whether they cooperate with the investigation of others.


These categories are not exact definitions and the prosecutor may label everyone as a subject initially, then change their minds later. That is why it is so important to consult a King County domestic violence lawyer about your case. Call South King County criminal attorney today at (253) 709-5050.

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