An Arizona summons or complaint can seem like an intimidating document to receive, especially if you are a small business owner and aren’t used to dealing with court proceedings or lawsuits. However, failing to answer an Arizona summons can lead to big legal troubles down the road, so it’s important to understand your options and how to handle one of these documents appropriately. Here’s everything you need to know about handling an Arizona summons or complaint as either the party being sued or the person filing the suit.
What is a summons or complaint in Arizona?
A summons is a court order requiring you to appear in court for a specific matter. A complaint is a document that starts a lawsuit against you. Generally, when someone files a suit against you, they will also file a summons with the court requesting that you be required to respond to the complaint and appear in court on the date of your hearing.
What happens if I ignore it?
If you ignore the summons, it will be assumed that you have no defense, and the judge can rule against you without hearing your input. You should also be aware that if a judgment is issued against you, there is often a waiting period before it becomes final and enforceable. This waiting period varies from one state to another but can be as long as six months in some states, so if you want to challenge the court’s decision, it’s important for you to act promptly.
How do I respond?
If you have been served with a summons and complaint, you have a few options for how to respond. You can file a motion to dismiss the complaint if it is defective in any way if there is no basis for the claim, if the statute of limitations has expired, or if the plaintiff hasn’t given notice as required by law.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
If you can’t afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you at no cost. Your court appearance is your opportunity to tell the judge why you don’t think you should have to pay the judgment (or comply with any other part of the summons). The judge may agree and dismiss your case, but if not, he will typically set a date for trial so that both sides are given a chance to present their evidence and make their case.
Do I have to go to court?
Technically speaking, you aren’t required to Answer an Arizona Summons or Complaint. However, ignoring one means a judgment can be made against you without the judge receiving your input or hearing your response.
It is important to remember that not going to court doesn’t make the issue go away and may only cost you more in the long run when it comes time for enforcement of the judgment.
If you receive a summons or complaint, it’s best to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. You must protect yourself and your rights as much as possible. If you don’t know where to start, contact the legal team at