Have you been summoned as a witness in a trial and you cannot go?

A witness is a person who is required before a judge or court because it is considered that they can provide information that helps clarify the facts or circumstances that are being tried. When this occurs, the person whose presence is requested will have to have received the corresponding summons, usually by hand delivery or by certified mail. With the note in hand, if you are not a legal expert, you probably have more than one question.

older summons witnesses trial

Who is obliged to appear as a witness after a subpoena?

Article 410 of the Criminal Procedure Law (@boegob) determines that any person residing in Spanish territory (national or foreign) that is not impeded He is obliged to attend the judicial appeal.

The law establishes exceptions, such as the non-obligation to testify as witnesses for the king or queen, and others that may affect the general population. This is the case, for example, of the situation of being called to testify as a witness when the defendant is a direct relative in an ascending or descending line (parents, children) and also if it is the spouse (or partner), siblings and relatives, generally up to second grade.

It is important to make clear that the standard does not pick up old age as a possible “excuse” for not going as a witness to a trial. It only indicates the possibility that there is a actual physical impairment, such as an illness, that justifies the impossibility of duly attending the summons. In these cases, after notifying the court of the situation (providing the documentation that proves it), it is usual for the investigating judge to take declaration at home of the person who cannot move, as long as this fact does not pose a risk to the health (and life) of that person.

older person witness

The answers to the most frequent questions

In the first place, when faced with a court summons, it is normal to consider whether it is going to be necessary to go to a law firm. It is a personal decision. If for your peace of mind you want to have the support of an expert in the legal field, perfect, but, go as a witness to a trial to only answer the questions they may ask you, does not require the presence of a lawyer. Generally, the prosecution and / or the defense (depends on which party you go to) will talk to you minutes before making the statement before the judge and you can comment on any questions you have.

If going to testify as a witness supposes you a significant expense in travel, because you have been summoned in a court of another autonomous community that is not the one in which you usually reside, the Community of Madrid (@CommunityMadrid) remember that you have the right to request compensation that covers the expenses of the trip. The same occurs with active workers who may have lost part of their salary for attending the court appointment.

Finally, it is important to insist on the need to respond adequately to a court summons, either by going to testify as a witness if indicated, or by informing the court of the situation that prevents you from doing so. The fine for ignoring a citation ranges from 200 and 5,000 euros. In addition, they would re-quote you a second time and if you insist on the non-response, you would have serious problems, because you could be accused of crime of obstruction of justice or disobedience to authority.

older judgment summons

And what happens if they call me to be part of a popular jury?

The Jury Court, which already existed in Spain in different periods until 1936, was reinstated in 1995 for the trials of certain crimes. Since then, any spanish citizen you can be called to be part of a popular jury. The main requirements that you must meet are:

  • Be of age.
  • To be in full exercise of their political rights.
  • Not having been convicted of any crime, or being prosecuted.
  • Reside in a municipality in the province where the crime tried was committed.

Unlike what happens in the case of being summoned to testify as a witness, if you are called to be part of a jury you should know that people over 65 are exempt of the obligation to participate as such in a process. The Organic Law 8/1995 of November 16, which regulates all aspects related to the operation of the jury, also establishes that a person who is physically or mentally impaired nor does he have to fulfill this duty demanded by justice.

If, far from wanting to be exempt from this obligation, what you would love is to be part of a popular jury, this possibility will be a matter of luck because the people selected to carry out this task are chosen by lottery, that is, even if you want to, You couldn’t volunteer.