General Witness Information
If you are required to testify as a witness in a trial or other proceeding, you will receive a subpoena telling you when and where to go to court. A subpoena is a formal court order so there are serious penalties for disobeying it. If you know in advance that something might keep you from attending a required court appearance, let the United States Attorney's Office know immediately so that an attempt may be made to adjust the schedule. However, scheduling is at the discretion of the court and sometimes cannot be changed.
Compensation for Witnesses
There are several different categories of witnesses and compensation depends on which category applies:
Witnesses who are not federal employees: If you are a witness who is not employed by the federal government or the military, you will receive a witness fee for each day that you are required to attend court in connection with the case, including time spent waiting to testify.
Witnesses who are federal government employees or military personnel: The United States Attorney's Office will assist you in advising your employer that you are required to be present in court. This will enable you to receive your regular salary, notwithstanding your absence from work. You will not collect a witness fee in addition to that salary.
Out-of-town witnesses residing 100 miles or more from the court location: If you are an out-of-town witness, you may receive reimbursement for certain travel expenses in addition to the daily witness fee. Out-of-town witnesses must contact the Witness Management Coordinator from the United States Attorney's Office who can help make travel and lodging arrangements.
Local witnesses: In addition to the daily witness fee, if you reside within 100 miles of the court location, but outside the city where the courthouse is located, you are entitled to mileage reimbursement if you drive to court. If you drive to court, you are also entitled to reimbursement for parking, wherever you reside.
How do I receive my reimbursement?
At the conclusion of their testimony, witnesses complete a witness voucher to make a claim for fees and expenses. Generally, the process for reimbursement takes several months. You will receive a check from the United States Treasury Department.