What to Do If You Receive a DOJ Subpoena

Being on the receiving end of a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice can be a harrowing experience no matter who you are. However, just because you received a subpoena does not necessarily mean you are the target of the investigation — you may be a potential witness or have knowledge of facts that pertain to an investigation.

If you are served with a DOJ subpoena, we recommend you do the following:

Read the subpoena to find out what has been requested.

Contact your attorney immediately. If your company is being served and you have in-house counsel, inform them of the subpoena. In addition, your senior management team and Board of Directors should be notified as well in case they are expected to respond.

Preserve the requested information. Be sure that any data or documents requested in the subpoena are located and preserved. This may include emails as well as paper files. Nothing pertaining to the subpoena should be destroyed.

Cooperate. Contact the DOJ counsel who has been identified in the subpoena to confirm that it was received and communicate your intent to comply and cooperate. Make one person in the organization in charge of all communications regarding the subpoena. Upon counsel from your attorney, you may elect to go to court to have the subpoena quashed or to limit its scope if you find the request to be overly broad or unnecessarily burdensome. However, you may be able to accomplish those objectives by working directly with DOJ counsel.

Ask for clarification. You can ask the DOJ counsel if you or your company is the target of the investigation or just a witness and they may — or may not — tell you. More than likely, the DOJ counsel will discuss the subpoena with you and could further identify information they are most interested in obtaining.

If necessary, ask for time to comply. If the subpoena asks for a lot of information in a short period of time, you may be able to get more time to comply if you can show you are cooperating with the subpoena.

Whether you are facing a serious federal white-collar prosecution, a state murder charge, or misdemeanor charges, The Cogdell Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and reputation you want for your legal team. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at

Being on the receiving end of a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice can be a harrowing experience no matter who you are. However, just because you received a subpoena does not necessarily mean you are the target of the investigation — you may be a potential witness or have knowledge of facts that pertain to an investigation.

If you are served with a DOJ subpoena, we recommend you do the following:

Read the subpoena to find out what has been requested.

Contact your attorney immediately. If your company is being served and you have in-house counsel, inform them of the subpoena. In addition, your senior management team and Board of Directors should be notified as well in case they are expected to respond.

Preserve the requested information. Be sure that any data or documents requested in the subpoena are located and preserved. This may include emails as well as paper files. Nothing pertaining to the subpoena should be destroyed.

Cooperate. Contact the DOJ counsel who has been identified in the subpoena to confirm that it was received and communicate your intent to comply and cooperate. Make one person in the organization in charge of all communications regarding the subpoena. Upon counsel from your attorney, you may elect to go to court to have the subpoena quashed or to limit its scope if you find the request to be overly broad or unnecessarily burdensome. However, you may be able to accomplish those objectives by working directly with DOJ counsel.

Ask for clarification. You can ask the DOJ counsel if you or your company is the target of the investigation or just a witness and they may — or may not — tell you. More than likely, the DOJ counsel will discuss the subpoena with you and could further identify information they are most interested in obtaining.

If necessary, ask for time to comply. If the subpoena asks for a lot of information in a short period of time, you may be able to get more time to comply if you can show you are cooperating with the subpoena.

Whether you are facing a serious federal white-collar prosecution, a state murder charge, or misdemeanor charges, The Cogdell Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and reputation you want for your legal team. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or info@cogdell-law.com.

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