What Is a Certified Process Server?
Simply put, a process server is someone who delivers court papers to another person who is required to come to court. These people can deliver a wide range of different papers and have many different requirements from state to state. Originally, papers were served by people associated directly with the court, but now any US citizen that is not directly involved in the case and is over the age of 18 can serve the papers, although it is recommended to get a professional representative to do it instead.
How and What Is a Person Served?
Typically, a process server will ask the person if they are the defendant. After this, the defendant will take the paperwork, at which point they are considered to have been served. Sometimes it isn’t this simple, as some people either can’t be found or refuse to accept the paperwork.
According to Superior Process Services, a process server can serve any and all paperwork related to court hearings. These can be divorce papers, custody papers, eviction notices, restraining orders, court summons, and lawsuit notices, among many others. These are all roughly organized into summons, complaints, subpoenas, and writs.
Why Should I Use a Professional Representative?
State laws can differ, and there are often many more requirements outside the bare bones federal ones. Most states don’t require licensing, but there are a few that do. In alphabetical order, the following states need licensed professionals to serve papers: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. If you live in one of those states, you will be require to use the services of a professional process server.
Going through a company can offer you a streamlined level of service, as any questions can be answered by them and their legal experts. Process servers also have access to industry-specific technology to facilitate communication between clients, paralegals, process servers, and lawyers. This allows a process server to easily download all the necessary information while keeping it safeguarded at the same time.
Is There a Cost to Have Papers Served?
Like the legal requirements, the prices can vary depending on the state. Typically though, you can expect the cost to be anywhere from $35 to $100 for routine service. Obviously things like mileage and rush service can accrue additional fees.
The turnaround time can vary based on a lot of factors, but typical routine service is usually within 5 to 7 days. Faster delivery times are possible, but as mentioned before will cost more. A rush service can have papers served in 3 days, while some offer same-day service.
What If the Person Refuses the Papers or Can’t Be Found?
Oftentimes a defendant doesn’t need to formally accept the papers or the service to be served. In some states, all a process server needs is for someone to admit to being the defendant, or to touch the papers. In other cases, they can just leave the paperwork at their feet and walk away.
If you have used an uncertified process server who has made every attempt to serve the defendant with papers but they can’t be found, the court might assign you a certified professional representative or even make a publication in a public forum.
A certified process server can also use social media to find the defendant. Social media is rarely private and there are all sorts of ways it can be used to coordinate a person’s location. The saturation of different websites in our lives makes even a simple Google search a viable tool for locating someone.
What Can’t Process Servers Do?
There are a few things they shouldn’t or can’t do. For one, they can’t guess at the rules. Careful considerations needs to be made about the jurisdiction of the defendant and prosecution. Nor are they allowed to say they are someone they are not.
In general, they are not permitted to trespass in order to serve papers, though rules can differ from state to state. In addition, every case can be a little bit different in terms of the type of trespassing; sometimes a sign needs to be present, other times a simple gate with certain colored paint is good enough.
A certified process server is someone who is legally certified to serve papers to a person involved in a court case. They also have the legal know-how on how to serve and can answer any questions the defendant or prosecution might have.