What Is a Process Server
A process server is someone that delivers legal documents such as summonses, complaints, writs, or subpoenas to a person involved in a lawsuit or court case. After serving these legal papers, they must verify that service was completed through an affidavit of service to the person or business that requested they be served. The rules that determine service of process vary from state to state, and some states require that the process server be registered. As a general rule, this person must be over the age of 18 and cannot be directly involved in this particular court case.
What Can a Process Server Do or Not Do?
The primary responsibility of a process server is to deliver legal documents to a particular person so that they can be notified of legal actions or proceedings in which they are a party. The process server must do this in accordance with local and state rules for it to be considered by the courts as proper service.
Below is a list of things that process servers can and cannot do. Please remember that these are only a few examples of what may happen and not every possible scenario or rule.
Process servers may:
- Deliver legal papers to your place of work. If someone is aware that a process server is looking to serve them, they may try to dodge them. However, a process server can show up at your business or place of employment to serve you with legal papers.
- Stand or wait outside the person’s home or business for them to show up. If the person is avoiding service, a process server may have to wait outside their home or place of work and wait until they appear. This is allowed as long as they are not threatening or harassing you or anyone else and not breaking state laws.
- Serve legal papers to a person in the same household or office that is over the age of 18. In some states, and with special approval by the courts, a process server may serve someone who resides or works within the person’s home or office, as long as they are a legal adult.
- Perform courthouse research or skip tracing to locate the person being served. Process servers are allowed to use several tools to track a person’s home or work address to serve them.
Process servers cannot:
- Break into a person’s house or business. Process servers must still follow the rules of ordinary citizens, and they cannot break or enter into private property or business illegally. This is not allowed and is against the law.
- Harass or threaten someone to serve papers to them. A private process server cannot threaten or force a person to open their door or allow entry into their home or business.
- Impersonate or pretend to be a law enforcement officer. Process servers can’t pretend to be something that they’re not. They cannot deceive another person in order to serve the papers, and impersonating a police officer is a violation of the law.
- Deliver legal papers to minors. Minors under the age of 18 cannot accept legal papers, even if they live with or know the person who is the party to the lawsuit.
- Go through your mailbox. There are differing opinions on the legal rules around a person’s mailbox, but as a general rule, a process server cannot open your mailbox or look through your mail.
Again, these are a sample of common questions that readers ask regarding process serving and not a complete list of the rules and regulations around service of process. Therefore, if you are looking to hire a reputable process server and are unsure of the ethical regulations around service of process, it is important to consult with an attorney in your state.
Hire a Registered Agent Provides Effective, Professional Service
If you need a registered agent or professional process server with a high level of personal service, then Lafayette is your answer! Contact us at 1-866-237-2853 or send us an email inquiry at [email protected].
At Lafayette Process Servers LLC, our list of services include:
- Process Agent and Registered Agent Services
- Process Serving
- Legal Document Delivery
- Court Filings
- Same-Day Legal Courier Service
- Document Retrieval
- Witness Locating and Skip Tracing
- Criminal and Civil Background Checks
- Legal and Courthouse Research
- Court Paper “Walk-Throughs”
The foregoing blog post has simply been presented for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. He or those at Lafayette Process Servers LLC are not attorneys. If you seek further information about this topic or any other legal issues, please contact a legal professional in your local area.