Is It Illegal to Avoid Being Served Legal Papers?
Normally, a court will formally serve you a summons and complaint when a party sues you, but what happens if you never get served court papers? During criminal defense cases, you may wonder whether you are violating any rules when you avoid the process servers delivering these papers.
You typically have nothing to worry about when you avoid their deliveries. It is not illegal. However, failing to obtain your court papers may carry certain consequences that will affect your case’s outcome. Moreover, the appointed individual is likely to find a way to serve the court papers one way or another. Take a look at what happens if you never get formally served.
Consequences of Never Getting Served Court Papers
Although you are unlikely to face any legal repercussions for avoiding any court papers, failing to appear in court after someone files a criminal complaint against you may cost you. After all, it may be the process server’s fault for not serving the court papers properly, causing you to not receive them. Here are some consequences you face regardless of the reason you did not receive a summons.
The Court Will Proceed With Orders and Decisions Without You
Suppose you are the defendant in the court case that a person files against you. If you did not receive your court papers, then the plaintiff can ask the judge to proceed with the default judgment in your case. However, they must prove that the process server served you with the notice of claim and has a valid claim against you.
Your Legal Process May Become Lengthier and More Expensive Than Necessary
In some situations where the process server truly failed to serve you the court papers properly, the court cannot pass a judgment against you because it has no personal jurisdiction over you. Thus, they will postpone the case to another court date where the process server will attempt to serve you again. However, the longer your case pends, the more expensive it may become.
Other People Will Become Involved in Your Case
You could draw other people into your legal issues if you do not appear in court even when you do not get the necessary papers. Perhaps the process server went to your primary residence and someone residing with you received it without any context of your circumstances. Thus, that person unknowingly became involved in your case.
How Process Servers Can Still Deliver Your Court Papers
Even if you never got served court papers because of your physical absence when the assigned process server was present, they can serve you in other ways that would count as valid, such as:
- They Send Court Papers Through Certified Mail
Process servers have legal permission to use certified mail channels to send your court papers. These channels would show that the assigned individual successfully sent the documents and the post delivered them to your residence. Confirmations will also exist even if you do not receive them yourself.
- They Use a Valid Substitute Service To Serve Court Papers
If you live with other people in your primary residence, whether they are a spouse, partner, roommate, or adult child, their relationship with you may count as valid when receiving the papers. Thus, your assigned process server can serve them instead of you.
- Process Servers Serve Court Papers While You Are on Duty
Your place of employment is probably on your record, which an assigned process server can legally visit to present your court papers. Serving you at work may cause some problems with your employer since they most likely want to avoid any legal issues. Depending on your case, they may take necessary action to protect themselves.
- They Will Seek Permission From the Judge To Post on Your Door
If the process server continuously fails to serve your court papers due to your physical absence, they would assume that you are deliberately avoiding the process service. In such events, they can go to the ruling judge and get consent to post the bill on your front door.
- Process Servers Will Publish a Public Notice
If you fail to respond to a process server claiming that you were never served court papers, they may have grounds to put a notice in your local publication about your case. Exposing your case may affect your personal and professional lives and would require a criminal defense attorney to sort things out.
Final Words: Get Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney To Navigate Your Situation
When you never get served court papers, the assigned process server can try again next time or seek other ways to deliver the documents. Although it is not illegal to avoid these papers, you still face some consequences that will affect the outcome of the case against you.
To ensure that courts will not make hasty decisions while you are absent, consider getting a criminal defense attorney on your side. These legal experts can help you navigate the court system and fight for your rights. Discuss your case with us today.