Can a Police Officer or Sheriff Serve My Legal Papers?
One of the most important parts of the U.S. legal system is the right to due process.
This guarantees that a person must be notified of any legal action taken against them, including lawsuits, divorces, evictions, and more. That way, they can prepare with a lawyer and have the chance to defend themselves.
Someone can be served one of three ways: sheriff or constable, private process, or certified mail.
Why Would a Sheriff Serve Papers?
Back in the day, the role of serving legal paperwork was performed exclusively by sheriffs. But as populations grew, serving times became longer, and demand for this job increased.
That’s where process servers stepped in to help. This job was created specifically to perform the important job of serving papers and protecting due process.
In many states, sheriffs can still serve papers. The fee for this service is usually about $40. If you decide to pay the county this service, you can file your complaint with the clerk of court at a district court or circuit court.
After you pay to have the papers served, it will be your responsibility to follow up and make sure the person has actually been served. The sheriff will send the clerk an official “return of service” as proof that he has performed the job. You will need to call the clerk to find out when this is submitted.
Courts will likely push the option of going through a sheriff because it makes money for the county. However, it is often more efficient to hire a process server.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Process Server?
While you could technically leave your legal paperwork with the sheriff to deliver, this is usually not the best option.
This is because sheriffs’ offices have many jobs to perform. While process serving used to be one of their core duties, their role has become more specialized in the area of law enforcement and public protection.
On the other hand, process servers are specialized in serving papers. They acquire local certifications that improve their legal knowledge, and they are held to higher standards of performance than sheriffs or police officers.
Because serving is their full-time job, certified process servers also have special tools and techniques available to them that sheriffs might not. This includes extensive databases and the efficiency that comes with years of experience.
This experience will especially come in handy if the person is trying very hard not to be found.
So, while sheriffs and police officers can still serve papers, it is usually easier, faster, and more efficient to trust the job to a certified process server.
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Our team of certified professionals works quickly to serve paperwork all across the nation and even across the world. We get it done right the first time, so you can move forward with your case.