How to Get Copies of Lost Subpoenas

How to Get Copies of Lost Subpoenas
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A subpoena is the basic tool used in the judicial system to ensure a witness in a criminal (or civil case) appears to testify during a trial or other type of court proceedings. A subpoena typically is issued by the clerk of the court at the request of the party to a case (the prosecuting and defense attorneys, for example) or the judge herself. Although great care is taken to secure an original subpoena to be served on a witness, there are occasions where this type of court document is lost. There is a procedure through which you obtain copies of lost subpoenas.

Step 1

Go in person to the court clerk's office. Although a good deal of court business is transacted by phone or over the Internet, obtaining a replacement for or copy of a lost subpoena needs to be done in person.

Step 2

Advise an assistant clerk on duty in the clerk's office of the lost subpoena.

Step 3

Provide the assistant clerk with the case number as well as the name of the person subpoenaed.

Step 4

Request a copy of the lost subpoena or a replacement.

Step 5

Confirm that the copy of lost subpoena is duly certified by the clerk's office. A certified copy is one that is authenticated by the clerk of the court as being a true and correct copy of original. A merely duplicated copy is not sufficient to replace a lost subpoena.

Step 6

Obtain the appropriately certified replace or copied subpoena to be served on the witness.


  • Always secure a subpoena in a safe place you readily can access. A judge theoretically can impose sanctions on a person who negligently loses a subpoena, particularly if it delays court proceedings.


  • Contact the party that requested the subpoena in the first instance the moment you learn it is missing. The attorney likely will be of great assistance to you in obtaining a replacement subpoena for service on the witness.

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