Notice is the legal concept in which a party is made aware of a legal process affecting their rights, obligations or duties. There are several types of notice: public notice (or legal notice), actual notice, constructive notice, and implied notice.
Service of process
At common law, notice is the fundamental principle in service of process. In this case, the service of process puts the defendant “on notice” of the allegations contained within a criminal defendant to be notified of the charges and their grounds.
If a court bases personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state or foreign defendant on a long-arm statute, the court must carefully select a means of notifying the defendant to comply with the notice requirement of due process. Sometimes this is done by serving agents of the defendant located within the state. Because out-of-state defendants can’t always be located easily, some state or local laws may allow for selication. An example of this would be printing a notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper published where the defendant is believed to reside. Because the failure of a defendant to appear in court results in a default judgment against him, such measures must be sufficiently calculated to give actual notice to the defendant to satisfy due process.
In the core case setting forth constitutional notice requirements, the U.S. Supreme Court held that notice must be “reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.” Moreover, defendants must be notified by the “best practical means” available.
Notice and knowledge
Many statutes include that the accused knowingly have acted in violation. When a party is “put on notice” that they are in violation, continued action in violation may be sufficient to evidence knowledge.