A subpoena is a writ ordering someone to attend a court proceeding. The word subpoena originated in Latin as “sub poena” which means under penalty – words still utilized in subpoenas issued today.
A subpoena duces tecum is a writ ordering someone to attend a court proceeding and bring specified relevant documents. The Latin origin “sub poena duces tecum” means under penalty you shall bring with you. Sometimes a subpoena duces tecum will allow the receiver to produce documents in lieu of appearing in person with the requested documents.
If you receive a subpoena or a subpoena duces tecum, make sure you read through it thoroughly so that you will understand what you are being ordered to do and/or provide so that you can properly comply with it.