Subpoenas are sent by Kemru, or Messen in Axel Mode. Characters may receive Subpoenas for reasons as diverse as "Too Many Murders" or "Being a Loser", and accepting these Subpoenas will create an item with a special Bailiff specialist. Reaching a special portal on the floor marked by a Bailiff in the Subpoena item summons the character to the Dark Court, where they will receive a certain number of felonies, as well as Hell or items.
Felonies also grant bonus EXP for each killed enemy, with a maximum of 300 felonies or a maximum of 300% more EXP per kill. Note that the stamp on the character's portrait will only display 99 felonies, making it harder to keep track of felonies gained past 99. In Dark Hero Days, a new section in a Character's status screen called Gross Criminal Records keeps track of all hidden Felonies. They also increase the senators' opinion of the player, heightening the chance of unlocking hidden maps and stages; and lower the buying prices of items in the Shop.
The only way to rid a character of their Felonies is by reincarnating as a Prinny to cleanse them of their sins, or "Reincarnating to Atone for their Sins" if the character in question is a main character, such as Adell or Yukimaru, who are not able to reincarnate into different classes. Note that the benefits of any previous Felonies will still be in effect, getting rid of the Felonies will only remove the symbol blocking the character's portrait.
Felonies can also have an effect on the ending of the game depending on how many felonies Adell has accumulated. It is also possible to have more than one character receive the felony, by throwing a tower of characters into the Dark Court gate, they will all receive felonies.