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Do You Have to Sign for a Summons?

Question: Can you be arrested for not showing up to court on a civil suit if you got a writ of summons but you did not sign for it?


  1. A signature is normally not required for valid service, unless by certified mail.

  2. The normal consequence of ignoring a summons is that a judgment is entered against you.

  3. Particularly if you are sued by a debt buyer, you should not default. You are admitting both that the plaintiff is the proper party to sue you and that the amount claimed is correct to the last penny. If you are not certain of either, you need to appear and defend. Debt buyers cannot prove anything. Even creditors may not be able to prove all that they claim.

  4. You cannot be arrested for not paying a debt or defaulting in a civil case.

  5. If you have a judgment against you and are served with a court order requiring your appearance to answer questions about your assets or income, you must appear, or an order for your arrest can be issued on a contempt citation.