If you've ever been served process, you know it can be a somewhat frightening and nerve-wracking situation. An unusual person might arrive at your work, house or elsewhere to hand you legal filings. These legal filings can be for both civil and criminal issues. They can can arrive without your expecting them, can be something you forgot, or can be something you're waiting for, as in some cases of litigation, criminal charges or divorce.
The legal filings can be written in what is known as "legalese," the language used by legal professionals. They aren't meant to be easy for the uninitiated to read, but ought to be in clear enough language for you to comprehend at some level. We would like to talk about the different kinds of legal filings you could get, but you should always consider talking with a legal professional for any civil or criminal matter.
It's ideal if your process serving is not a surprise and comes from the hands of a professional constable like those at family law attorney near me East Troy, Wi. These servers are generally hired by the prosecutors or the party filing suit, and they have to give the people paying them on-time, legally correct deliveries. They also need to respect your rights: the same on-time document delivery, freedom from threats and intimidation and lawful delivery.
Here are the some of the types of legal filings you might receive from a process server:
Administrative Summons: These come from the Internal Revenue Service and are for the purpose of ensuring that everyone follows the tax laws. These documents require the receiving party to make an appearance before a tax examiner and have in hand information. This is set aside as the final step in an IRS investigation after agents have sought out the taxes due in other ways.
Citation: These are a particular type of summons given, most often, by law enforcement, so aren't really known as process serving. The most common citations, including tickets for drinking, smoking or trespassing in specific places, generally require that you go before a judge by a future date. Accepting one of these is not an admission of guilt but, rather, a promise to appear. Failure to do so can mean automatic findings of guilt and exponential fines.
Civil Summons: This legal call to court comes with a precise time when you should show up at court. It is different from a simple filing informing you of the legal proceedings. These can be given by a constable in many kinds of civil cases, including divorce and child custody matters.
Complaints: A complaint is a kind of legal filing, usually civil, and is generally the first one filed in a court case. If you are served with a complaint, it means you have been sued and are a defendant in a case. Criminal complaints are more serious than citations but often less grave than indictments.
Indictments: These criminal filings are served after a grand jury , which meets without a judge, gathers to consider a potential criminal case against you. A grand jury, like a regular jury, is made up of fellow voters but the proceedings are kept confidential, even from the defendant. This special group meets to decide whether there is enough evidence to charge you with a major. Without an indictment, the most serious felonies and federal crimes cannot be argued before a judge. These documents will be served to you or your attorney.
Petitions: This kind legal document begins a court case, but asks for non-monetary or equitable relief such as a Writ of Mandamus (an order to do or cease doing something) or Habeus Corpus (a request for an arrested person to hear the charges against them These can also be served in cases such as those regarding child custody and probate.
Small Claims Summons: Process serving documents related to small personal debts generally come from small claims courtas the first notice of the lawsuit. These generally require you to make the debt right with the issuer or go see a judge. If you don't show up, you will almost certainly have a credit judgment against you.
Subpoenas: These fall under different rules from complaints and usually have to be signed off on by a court clerk. They are a type of summons, but they force you to appear as a witness to give testimony, require you to present documentary evidence such as designated records, books, papers, documents, or tangible things or require you to attend a deposition. These are often served between attorneys rather than to you personally, but ignoring them can mean contempt charges or a forfeiture of your claims and a judgment against you.
Summons: Whether in criminal court or the halls of civil justice, a summons is a call for you to show up in court before a judge or jury. These should always state a date and time on which to appear. If you don't show up, you can either be charged with contempt of court or can lose the civil case as a "non-responsive party".
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, like the constitutional documents of many other governments around the globe, protect residents by ensuring due process of law. Everyone is entitled to a chance to make their case. Professional process service is a very important part of this civil right and, when done properly, can make the situation work better.