received a summons what does that mean

Asked on June 1, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It means that there has been a lawsuit started against you.  Beyond that, it depends on the summons, and the type of lawsuit.  You should take the summons, and any papers that came with it, to an attorney in your area.  One place to find qualified lawyers is our website,

In most states, a civil summons is served with the complaint, and it will usually tell you where to file your responding papers and when they are due.  The complaint will state the facts (from the plaintiff's point of view) and why you should pay damages (or be evicted, etc.).

A summons can also be used in a less serious criminal case, instead of an arrest warrant.  A criminal summons may come with a criminal complaint or indictment, like a civil summons, or it can be a single form like a typical traffic ticket, which is both summons and complaint on a single document.

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