Certified Mail Law and Legal Definition

Certified mail is a method of delivery used for important mailings that require proof of receipt, such as legal notifications. Certified mail provides the sender with a mailing receipt and a delivery record that is maintained by the Postal Service. A return receipt that provides the sender with proof of delivery can also be purchased for an additional fee. Certified mail service is available for First-Class Mail and Priority Mail. Certified Mail using Priority Mail is not yet available through this service.

The U.S. Postal Service now offers traditional certified mail via the Internet. This new service verifies the address, adds the barcode, prints, folds, and completes the certification forms online. Also, customers can check the internet for the delivery status of their Certified Mail and Registered Mail items. Customers can view their information via the Track and Confirm web site at www.usps.com.

First-Class letters and parcels are protected against search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and, as such, cannot be opened without a search warrant.