How to Serve Someone in Arizona

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When a person needs to show up in the courtroom for a civil or criminal investigation, another individual must serve him or her official papers. This individual may be part of law enforcement or appointed through the courts within the local area where the case may process through.

In Arizona, summons to the court usually occurs through the local law enforcement with the sheriff's office, a deputy or a private process server through a clerk of the courts registered for such purposes. Anyone specifically appointed by the courts may serve a subpoena for court matters. When necessary and within the rules authorized, a lawyer of the plaintiff may serve these same papers. Someone other than the lawyer may serve if he or she is at least 21 years old, is not part of the plaintiff or defendant party or an employee of the lawyer of either.

Private Server Processors

Other than law enforcement and legal professionals, private server processers are the others that may serve these papers to the witnesses and defendant in the case. These are usually individuals that are appointed by the court through the clerk and approved by the Supreme Court. They must be applicants with residence in Arizona state for no less than one year after applying for certification. These individuals must serve such papers in accordance with the laws of the state. The specific rules and guidelines apply for the state and city where the individual has filed for court approval as a private server processor.

Private Process Servers in Arizona

The most reliable form of serving a person in the state is by hiring a process server. This person will ensure that the summons and other documents necessary in these matters received by the appointed individual occur with all valid and needed procedures. The individual registered with the clerk works for the Arizona court system. A registry exists with these authorized personnel. When the individual is a private process server, he or she is able to serve in a capacity and give summons to the defendants or witnesses anywhere in the state. However, the process server must have the proper credentials and cannot be just any person.

Acceptance of Service

Once served with the summons to the courts, the defendant or witness may accept the service or waive the issuance. This is necessary in writing with a signature by the individual. This could process through the lawyer of the served person and is then filed in the action with the court. When accepting the summons, the person will show up in court to respond to the complaint or defend against it. The defendant will need a lawyer in most cases to defend against litigation complaints. The legal representative may negotiate or attempt to show there is not enough evidence for relief to the plaintiff in these concerns.

Return of Service Explained

When the service for summons is not valid, accepted or waived, the process sever will make proof of this action with the court. If the process occurs with the sheriff or deputy, this is officially endorsed and then the information attached returns to the court quickly. However, any other will need an affidavit for proof of service. The affidavit will require reference to the applicable court. If summons for the complaint needs publication through the newspaper, proof of service may need a different process. The return of service goes through the Arizona Rules 4.1 and 4.2 for court matters.

Changes and Time Limits

Unless the rights of a part are to at some point violated, changes to the process for proof of service may occur at any time. This is at the courtís discretion. For summons and complaint documentation, the plaintiff has 120 days after filling the complaint to ensure the defendant receives the details. If this time passes, the court may dismiss the action at any time. The plaintiff must provide a reasonable cause for the failure of summons being received. If the court decides the reason is sufficient, the time may receive an extension. However, this may not be possible for foreign country matters.

Serving Summons Legal Help in Arizona

When it is necessary to service summons to someone in Arizona, or the plaintiff and defendant live in this state, it is important to hire an Arizona lawyer. The legal professional may assist in ensuring summons and other documentation process through valid means. This may lead to certified mail or a process server hired for these purposes.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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