How Process Servers Avoid Breaking the Law When Serving Papers

Process serving can be a difficult, dangerous job. It also can be a confusing one, understanding exactly what can and cannot be done when serving papers.

Inexperienced process servers can fall into a trap of breaking the laws, especially where there are fine lines between what’s legal and what’s not.

Here are X ways professional process servers avoid breaking the law when serving defendants and witnesses:

Reviewing Laws & Rules

The rules for service of process are different in each state and country, and it’s one of a process server’s most sacred duties to carefully check the local regulations prior to attempting service on someone.

Some things that may be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction include how service can be made, prohibited days for service, who can accept service, and whether or not a witness fee needs to accompany specific subpoenas. 

Before ever heading out to attempt service on a person, a good process server carefully checks over the laws and regulations where they will be serving, especially if it’s across state lines or in a jurisdiction with which they’re unfamiliar.

Avoiding Mailboxes

A process server can use a mailbox to confirm they are at the right address if the house number is printed on the box’s side, but that’s about all they can do with a mailbox.

Opening a mailbox to search for mail with a name or address on it, putting a subpoena into a mailbox, or even picking scattered mail up off the ground can be considered tampering with the mail. And if a process server is accused of tampering with the mail, it can potentially render their entire attempt to serve as invalid.

No Deception

While serving papers can take some creativity, especially in trying to track down a hard-to-find defendant or witness.

However, a professional process server never should deceive the person they’re serving as to their identity. This is especially true for impersonating a law enforcement agent.

Deceiving the subject of a service may be against the law, so a good process server always says exactly who they are and why they’re knocking on the door.

Going Only Where They’re Invited

Like vampires, process servers can only enter a home if they’re invited inside.

If they’re serving to a public place, such as an office building, process servers don’t have to be invited as long as they stick to waiting rooms and common areas. But when serving in someone’s private home, a professional process server will never cross the threshold unless asked.

Breaking and entering is still a crime, even if a person is serving papers, so process servers are careful to make sure they’re following the law.

Professional Process Service Nationwide

At Torri’s Legal Services, we put our decades of experience to work for you. Whether you need papers served across town or across the country, our team of professional process servers have you covered. Contact us today for a quote!

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