The importance of a summons should be not be underestimated. It is the court summons and how it is served that is responsible for the commencement of all lawsuits in Chicago and everywhere else in the nation. Attorneys who have a summons issued by a court depend upon private process servers to properly execute the delivery and service of the summons. Service of a summons is what establishes jurisdiction of the court over the defendant and or respondent.
Types of Summonses
A judicial summons is served on a person involved in a legal proceeding. Legal action may be in progress against the person, or the person's presence as witness may be required. In the former case, the summons will typically announce to the person to whom it is directed that a legal proceeding has been started against that person, and that a case has been initiated in the issuing court
A citation, traffic violation ticket, or notice to appear is a type of summons prepared and served at the scene of the occurrence by a law enforcement official, compelling the appearance of a defendant before the local magistrate within a certain period of time to answer for a minor traffic infraction, misdemeanor, or other summary offence. Failure to appear within the allotted period of time is a separate crime of failure to appear.
A Citation is also issued by a court that compels a defendant is a civil lawsuit to respond and or answer the complaint or petition that accompanies it.
A civil summons is most often accompanied by a complaint or a petition. Depending on the type of summons, there is often an option to endorse a summons so that the entity being served may be identified.
One example of an administrative summons is found in the tax law of the United States. The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue a summons for a taxpayer—or any person having custody of books of account relating to a business of a taxpayer—to appear before the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate (generally, this means the IRS employee who issued the summons) at the time and place named in the summons. The person summoned may be required to produce books, papers, records, or other data, and to give testimony under oath before an IRS employee.
The IRS is also empowered to issue the section 7602 summons for the purpose of "inquiring into any offense connected with the administration or enforcement of the internal revenue laws."
The summons may be enforced by a court order, and the law provides a criminal penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine, or both, for failure to obey the summons, except that the person summoned may, to the extent applicable, assert a privilege against self-incrimination or other evidentiary privileges, if applicable.
This type of summons is not served by a Private Process Server.
In most U.S. jurisdictions, the service of a summons is in most cases required for the court to have jurisdiction over the party who is being summoned. The process by which a summons is served is called service of process. The form and content of service in the federal courts is governed by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the rules of many state courts are similar. The federal summons is usually issued by the clerk of the court. In many states the summons may be issued by an attorney, but some states use filing as the means to commence an action and in those states the attorney must first file the summons in duplicate before it becomes effective; one or more copies are stamped by the court clerk with the court seal and returned to the attorney, who then uses it to actually serve the defendants. Other jurisdictions may only require that the summons be filed after it is served on the defendants.
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