Georgia Attorney John A. Steakley has generously permitted CTI to reprint his article, “When Is A Summons Not a Summons?” Mr. Steakley, as a seasoned Georgia lawyer, has been outspoken on the ViolationInfo.com “Camera Tickets” matter on AVVO. CTI welcomes Mr. Steakley’s views and opinions on the subject.
“When Is A Summons Not A Summons?”
By John A. Steakley
If you receive a document in the mail purporting to be a “summons”, remember that just because a document claims to be a summons does not make it a summons. And even if what you receive might otherwise qualify as a summons, receiving it by regular or certified mail renders it moot.
In law, a “summons” and other documents are referred to as “process.” Georgia law is pretty clear on the service of process:
O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(c) says process shall be served by:
(1) The sheriff of the county where the action is brought or where the defendant is found or by such sheriff’s deputy;
(2) The marshal or sheriff of the court or by such official’s deputy;
(3) Any citizen of the United States specially appointed by the court for that purpose;
(4) A person who is not a party and is not younger than 18 years of age and has been appointed as a permanent process server by the court in which the action is brought; or
(5) A certified process server under Code Section 9-11-4.1, provided that the sheriff of the county for which process is to be served allows such servers to serve process in such county.
Certified mail is NOT an acceptable means by which to serve a summons.
So just because you received a document by certified mail claiming to be a “summons” does not make it a summons, does not make it a properly-served summons, and does not mean that you have to respond to it.
You can find Attorney John A. Steakley at SteakleyLawFirm.com. His law practice is based in Marietta, Georgia.
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