You have received a subpoena because you were an important witness to a crime. What you saw is essential to the case that is being heard by a jury or a judge.
Yes, you must be aware that a subpoena is a court order, not an invitation. It is essential as a witness to a crime that you be present in the courtroom. Although you may not think your testimony is valuable to the case, it is not up to you to decide not to appear. If you question whether or not your testimony is necessary, call the State’s Attorney’s Office, and the prosecutor assigned to the case will make that determination.
As a witness you can request that your address and phone number remain confidential and not be released by the court, State’s Attorney’s Office, police, District Court Commissioner or juvenile intake worker. In addition, you are not required to talk to the defendant’s attorney or his representative.
The prosecutor can help you prepare for trial by telling you what questions he or she will ask and what questions to expect from the defendant’s attorney.
If the defendant threatens you, or interferes with you in any way, do not hesitate to call the local police agency and the State’s Attorney’s Office immediately. It is a crime for the defendant to do anything to stop you from testifying at trial. Witness protection resources may be available to increase your protection and enable you to participate in court.
The defendant’s attorney may contact you to ask questions to help him or her prepare the defense. You are not required by law to talk to the defendant’s attorney. If you do wish to talk to the defendant’s attorney, it is a good idea to inform the prosecutor prior to the meeting that you have with the defendant’s attorney.
Once charges have been filed, it is the State of Maryland through the State’s Attorney’s Office who determines when to bring charges to trial. Therefore, the choice to pursue charges is up to the prosecutor, not the parties in the case.
How do I find out what happened with the case if the Court Status Recording and website say no witnesses are needed for the case the next day?
You can call the State’s Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit at (410) 638-3243 to find out the status of a case after the scheduled court date.
Victims and witnesses may park on the fifth floor of the Parking Garage free of charge. Place your parking permit in the windshield of your vehicle. DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CASE WHILE PROCEEDING TO THE COURTHOUSE.
You may go the State’s Attorney’s Office, Victim Witness Unit after you leave the courtroom and ask for a slip that states that you were indeed present in court as a witness for a case being heard that specific day, or you can get your summons/subpoena time and date stamped by the State’s Attorney’s Office when you arrive.