Pretrial Rule 17(c) Subpoenas
Rule 17(c) subpoenas are used in criminal cases to obtain business records from third parties. See, Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(c). Most jurisdictions require the documents to be both admissible at trial, and specifically described in the subpoena. The Supreme Court has ruled that Rule 17(c) should not be considered a form of discovery. See, Bowman Dairy Co v. United States, 341 U.S. 214 (1951). Rule 17(c) subpoenas can only be used to get evidence for trials or official hearings.
The subpoena may be issued by the court. If it is issued by a party, then it will only require the appearance of a third party at the trial for the possible production of documents.