What is a Process Server Allowed and Not Allowed to do?
Process Server is an individual who is hired to serve legal documents. They are an integral and indispensable part of the legal system and litigation process. Their job entails delivering adequate notice to individuals or corporations of a pending legal matter and is put in place to protect the legal rights of all American Citizens.
The main function of a process server is to serve legal documents to the defendant, individual, or entity listed on the legal document being served. Once the documents are delivered, an Affidavit of Service, also called a Proof of Service, is signed and/or notarized and the original is given to the party who requested the service so it can be filed with the court.
What are the Most Common Things that a Process Server is Not Allowed to Do?
Breaking and Entering or Trespassing is Not Allowed
A process server may not unlawfully gain access to a property. Depending on the circumstances, it may be considered trespassing if a process server unlocks a locked gate or door or enters a locked building without authorization.
Making Threats or Harassing People is Not Allowed
A process server may not threaten or harass an individual in an effort to serve legal documents on them.
Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer is Not Allowed
A process server may not pretend to be a police officer, sheriff or other law enforcement officer in order to persuade someone to open the door.
Leaving Documents with a Minor is Not Allowed
A process server may not serve documents to a minor. Most states have a statutory minimum age requirement for how old a household member has to be in order to accept service of process. Some states consider 14 years old as the minimum age while others consider 18 years old as the minimum age to accept substitute service.
Hiring a professional process server is an important step in proceeding with any legal action. Process servers have the skills and experience to serve legal documents in a timely manner and, most importantly, serve them in accordance with the local and state process serving laws.
Service of process, or the notification prior of legal proceedings is significant to the advancement and success of any case. Service of process is essential to a court proceeding that without it, a case cannot proceed.
There are three general ways that service of process is achieved:
(1) Personal Service — The best and most recognizable way. The documents are given directly to the party named on the Summons and Complaint or the Citation and Petition.
(2) Substitue Service — When permissible, the documents may be given to a family member or household member over a given age per individual state requirements who resides in the same household. Depending on the state where the documents originate will determine what subsequent actions must be taken to complete substitute service such as a required mailing by certified and/or certified mail, if any. Substitute service is not permitted in certain types of legal matters such as divorce complaints or petitions where the individual must be served personally only. In matters where personal service is required but unable to be achieved after diligent efforts have been made to serve the party personally, a court may grant an order for substitute service allowing service to be made by alternate means such as by mail or by affixing it to the door. When permissible, a court may grant an order for alternate service upon receiving a formal request for alternate service together with an affidavit of due diligence detailing the attempts that were made to obtain personal service.
(3) Service by Publication — If the named party in the documents cannot be found, the court may allow service by publication in a newspaper or by mail, as permitted by the court.
There are several key requirements associated with the rules of service of process (which may vary from state to state). If a service is not done in accordance with these rules, this can hinder a case from going forward or resulting in the dismissal of a case for improper service. Improper service may also cause undue delays which may subsequently cause necessitate additional court fees and/or attorney fees.
As such, in order for you to provide adequate notification to the other side of a pending legal action, you are obligated to "serve" the legal documents in compliance with local rules and regulations applicable to your case. Jurisdictions typically require that a US citizen, who is not a party to the action, over the age of 18, and residing in the state where the matter is to be tried can serve the documents. Certain states also require that process servers be licensed, bonded and in some cases even comply with GPS requirements at the time of service.
Therefore, It is important to hire a professional process server who is familiar with the local rules and regulations to ensure your documents are served property allowing your case to proceed.
We Serve Law LLC has the experience necessary to assist with any service of process request. Our team is very diligent, responsive and takes pride in their work. We will be glad to provide exemplary customer service and serve documents for you anywhere Nationwide. Please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email for your service of process needs.