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If you receive a summons, whether or not it contains valid charges, it is important that you fully understand the charges and appropriately respond. The summons will contain a complaint that gives the basic outlay of the charges being levied against you and that is the document from which you must write your summons response. There are other considerations you will have to take into account such as the amount of time you may take to respond as well as the actual procedure to sending it in. If you can afford it, it is best to hire an attorney to write your summons response.
The most pertinent document in the summons to your response is the complaint, which is written by the party who is filing charges against you and alleges the facts that give rise to the charge. Often times, there will be a form attached to the summons that makes your response as simple as filling out the form. If your jurisdiction does not supply such a form, however, then you will have to write a response in the appropriate manner.
Each individual allegation contained within the complaint must be addressed in your summons response through agreement, disagreement, or lack of knowledge to give an answer at that time. You must deny any stated fact whose truthfulness you disagree with and provide reasoning as to why you are alleging the falseness of the statement. If you honestly are not sure as to the truth of a particular allegation, you may typically answer that you simply cannot remember. After you complete your response, you must provide your signature, attesting that you answered truthfully to the best of your ability.
Additionally, depending on your situation, there may be certain defenses that you must raise in your response. For example, some jurisdictions require that in order to assert that you were not served properly or there was a failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted must be raised as a defense upon filing the summons response or not at all. It is important, if at all possible, to seek the aid of an attorney in considering all your options with regard to your summons response.
After finishing the summons response you must file it at the appropriate court within the appropriate time frame, which will be indicated within the summons. There will also likely be a filing fee that will vary in amount depending on the jurisdiction in which the complaint was first filed. It is important that you follow the appropriate procedure with regard to these steps as not appropriately and timely filing the summons response could result in a default judgment against you.
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