Spanish -

How To Say "Subpoena" In Spanish

¿Cómo se dice “subpoena” en español? This is a question that many people might ask when they are dealing with legal matters in a Spanish-speaking country or with Spanish-speaking clients. Whether you are a lawyer, a paralegal, a court interpreter, or simply a curious language learner, it is important to know the translation and meaning of legal terms such as “subpoena”. In this article, we will explore the different ways to say “subpoena” in Spanish, including regional variations, and provide you with some sample sentences.

Fast track your vocabulary with the 10.000 most common Spanish words!

What is "Subpoena" in Spanish?

First, let us clarify what a subpoena is. A subpoena is a legal document that requires a person to appear in court or to provide testimony or evidence in a legal case. Subpoenas can also be issued to compel the production of documents or other tangible objects that are relevant to a case. In Spanish-speaking countries, there are different terms and procedures for subpoenas, depending on the legal system and the specific country. However, the concept of a subpoena exists in most Spanish-speaking jurisdictions.

Meaning of "Subpoena" in Spanish

The most common Spanish translation for “subpoena” is “citación judicial” (IPA: /θi.taˈθjon xu.ðiˈsjal/). This term is used in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and other countries that have adopted the Spanish Civil Law tradition. Citación judicial can refer to both a subpoena and a summons, which are similar but not identical legal documents. In some cases, citación judicial can also be translated as “judicial summons” or “judicial citation”. 

In other Spanish-speaking countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, the term “cédula” (IPA: /ˈse.ð is used instead of “citación judicial”. Cédula means a document that has been certified or authorized by a public authority, and can refer to different types of legal documents, including a subpoena. 

4 eBooks of the Spanish Frequency Dictionaries series by MostUsedWords

Regional Differences

As you can see, there are different ways to say “subpoena” in Spanish, depending on the country and the legal system. However, even within the same country, there can be regional variations in the use of legal terminology. For example, in Mexico, some states might use “citación judicial” while others might use emplazamiento (IPA: /em.pla.saˈmjento/). Emplazamiento is a term that comes from the verb “emplazar”, which means to summon or notify someone to appear in court. Emplazamiento can be more formal or serious than citación judicial, and is often used in criminal cases. 

You can find the paperbacks on Amazon (we have frequency dictionaries for beginnersintermediatesadvanced and near-fluent students), or get the eBooks directly from us here. (They are affiliate links. That means we might get a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking these links, at no extra cost to you.) 

How to Say "Subpoena" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "subpoena" in Spanish:

  • El juez emitió una citación para que el testigo comparezca en la corte.

(The judge issued a subpoena for the witness to appear in court.)

  • Recibí una citación para entregar los documentos requeridos.

(I received a subpoena to produce the requested documents.)

  • El abogado presentó una citación para obtener los registros bancarios del acusado.

(The lawyer filed a subpoena to obtain the defendant's bank records.)

  • La citación tiene una fecha límite para cumplirse.

(The subpoena has a deadline for compliance.)

  • Si no cumples con la citación, puedes ser multado o encarcelado.

(If you fail to comply with the subpoena, you may be fined or jailed.)


In conclusion, knowing how to say subpoena in Spanish is an essential skill for anyone working in the legal field or traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. Whether you are sending a subpoena or receiving one, understanding the correct terminology can help you navigate legal proceedings with ease. So the next time you need to use the term, remember to use "citación judicial" or "orden judicial de comparecencia" depending on your location, and make sure you pronounce it correctly.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published