Everything You Need to Know about Writ of Summons in Texas

Writ of Summons in TexasServing or being served with legal documents pertaining to a pending lawsuit can be challenging for a lot of American citizens. Many people may not know what their rights are in these situations or the appropriate course of action they should take in order to uphold those rights and avoid accidentally incriminating themselves and potentially jeopardizing their case before it even begins. Service of process in Texas doesn’t have to be overly complicated as long as you have a reputable, trustworthy, and experienced legal professionals working on your case. Certified process servers in Texas will guarantee that your case is handled correctly and efficiently so that you can focus on building a strong and convincing case for yourself.

What Is a Writ of Summons?

As with any other type of legal recourse, there’s a stringent process involved in filing a lawsuit or official complaint against another person. The first step is to submit a petition with the office of the local court clerk requesting to file the lawsuit. You’ll then need to fill out a Praecipe for a Writ of Summons and submit it for a small fee. This document is then processed and signed by the sheriff’s office and the Clerk of Courts in Texas.

The defendant must be presented with a writ of summons informing them that a lawsuit is being filed against them as well as the nature of the official complaint. There are a number of delivery methods you can choose from including via mail, newspaper announcements, and personal hand delivery. You can either request that the sheriff deliver the papers to the recipient for you or hire a process server in Texas to do it.

A writ of summons is the formal document with which the prospective defendant will be presented. These legal documents can be delivered anywhere the recipient is expected to be at any given time, whether it’s their home, business, or any other location.

What’s Included in a Writ of Summons?

A writ of summons typically includes detailed information regarding the nature of the complaint that’s being filed in a court of law. Of course, each state has its own unique set of legal stipulations involved in the processing procedures. In Texas, the following is mandatorily included in a typical writ of summons document:

  • The name of the person filing the complaint (also known as the plaintiff)
  • The name of the person being sued (also known as the defendant)
  • The name and type of court from which the summons is being issued
  • The case number that’s assigned by the court
  • A brief description of the nature of the case and what it’s regarding
  • Options for responding to the summons
  • The deadline by which to submit a formal response to the summons

Some states allow the recipients to refuse service of process altogether. However, this refusal doesn’t necessarily void the case you’re trying to bring forth against the recipient. As long as you can prove to a judge in a court of law that you’ve made numerous reasonable attempts to serve the legal documents to the person who’s being sued, then you can still successfully move forward with the lawsuit.

The judge will grant you the right to simply leave the legal documents at the person’s place of business or residence with a competent adult over the age of 18 and count that as completed service of process. As mentioned, the documents can also be delivered via certified mail to your business or home. Failing all of these attempts, the last resort is to print a notice in local newspapers stating that legal action is being taken against the recipient.

Refusing service of process doesn’t negate the lawsuit being filed; it simply prolongs the inevitable process, wasting time and money.

Why Is a Writ of Summons Important?

Service of process in Dallas, Texas is taken very seriously and one of the main contingencies of preserving this important legal procedure is notifying prospective defendants of complaints that are being filed against them and allowing ample time for them to form a response. The American justice system relies heavily on the basic principle that justice is blind, and every citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In order for these values to continue to hold true, it’s paramount that every member of society is treated fairly and equally in the eyes of the law. While this is an idealistic notion that isn’t always put into practice, it’s the cornerstone of judicial applications in this country and must be preserved as much as possible. For that reason, it’s only fair to allow recipients of subpoenas and legal summons to have enough time to conjure up a strong defensive argument or alibi against their accusers.

How Do I Serve a Writ of Summons?

There are several methods of serving a writ of summons you can use. You can either submit a request with the local clerk to have the sheriff deliver the summons on your behalf, you can hire a professional process server to deliver it for you, you can hire an impartial third-party person over the age of 18 to deliver it for you, you can send the document to the recipient’s home or work via certified mail, or you can print the notification of the pending lawsuit in the local newspapers.

Keep in mind that each state and oftentimes, the jurisdictions within each county, has different rules and regulations when it comes to the methods of delivering legal documents. Sometimes, the regulations can even vary from one case or another. For that reason, your best option is to have a legal worker who’s well-versed with the local laws in your area to complete this crucial task for you.

Sheriff’s offices are often inundated with a great deal of legal paperwork and sometimes it can take weeks or even months before they even get to your case due to all of the backlog. Certified mail isn’t always reliable and it’s not always a good idea to entrust an unlicensed individual to deliver the papers for you. Too much can go wrong, especially if they make a mistake and deliver the papers to the wrong person. Also, not everyone reads the newspaper these days, so there’s a high chance that printing the notice of the lawsuit in the local newspaper will be ineffective.

Your best chance of guaranteeing that your legal documents are delivered to the correct person within a reasonable timeframe assigned by the courts is to hire a professional fully licensed process server.

What Should You Do if You Receive a Writ of Summons in Texas?

First, you should review the documents thoroughly on your own so that you can formulate any questions you might have. Next, have a lawyer review the documents and then discuss their contents with you so that you can gain a thorough understanding of the case being filed against you. A lawyer who specializes in the type of case being filed against you can help you come up with a workable plan of action and navigate the complex legal system in Texas.

Hiring a Professional Process Server to Serve a Writ of Summons

Professional Court Services is one of the leading process serving companies in the great state of Texas. We serve a number of counties including Dallas and Fort Worth in addition to expanding our services across all 50 states. For qualified, compassionate, and reliable service of process, please feel free to contact us today.


Photo Credit: istock.com/artisteer

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Crystal Schuder

Crystal Schuder

Crystal Schuder is part-owner of Professional Court Services. She has been in the process filing industry since 2004 and has years of courthouse experience under her belt. Crystal has worked with numerous attorneys, judges, and other courthouse personnel over the years and has developed a strong reputation for her professionalism within the industry.
Crystal Schuder

Author: Crystal Schuder

Crystal Schuder is part-owner of Professional Court Services. She has been in the process filing industry since 2004 and has years of courthouse experience under her belt. Crystal has worked with numerous attorneys, judges, and other courthouse personnel over the years and has developed a strong reputation for her professionalism within the industry.