Common Questions Asked About Process Serving
What is Process?
According to Cornell Law School, a process is a collection of papers relevant to a specific court case that are to be served to the case’s defendant. These papers typically include a court summons and the plaintiff’s complaint. When a process is for a witness or subject matter expert, the process is usually a summons or subpoena.
What is Service of Process?
Cornell also states that service of process is the procedure by which defendants in court proceedings are given proper notification of those upcoming requested appearances. This procedure is related to the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution and ensures people have adequate time to prepare for a legal case against them.
What is a Process Server?
A process server is very simply the person that delivers the court documents to the defendants. In some states, process servers must be approved by the courts and/or local law enforcement and must complete mandatory education. In other states, anyone over 18 years of age that is not a party in the case may deliver the documents. Here in southern Florida, the process for becoming a process server varies by county.
What Types of Documents Do Process Servers Deliver?
Process servers deliver documents for all types of cases, including:
- Child custody
- Civil lawsuits
Process servers can also deliver documents that aren’t of a legal nature.
Why Can’t I Just Serve the Papers Myself?
In Florida, anyone who is not an appointed law enforcement officer must be certified/approved/appointed following their county/judicial circuit’s rules to serve process. This typically includes required education, examination, posting of a surety bond, background checks, and more. Additionally, a person who is a named party in the case may not serve court process to a defendant, even if they are a certified private process server.
Mailing the process to the defendant(s) is also not allowed, as this does not satisfy the Due Process requirement in the U.S. Constitution. In-person service must be attempted several times before alternative service is considered.
Who Can Be a Process Server?
Broward County sets the rules for who can be a Special Process Server in Plantation and surrounding areas as follows:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have no mental or legal disability
- Be a permanent resident of the State of Florida
- File the applicable application/pay applicable fees
- Submit to a background investigation, which shall include the right to obtain and review the criminal record of the applicant.
- Obtain and file with the application a certificate of good conduct, which specifies there is no pending criminal case against the applicant and that there is no record of any felony conviction, nor a record of a conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, with respect to the applicant within the past 5 years
- Attend required training and take and pass a written examination through Broward County Sheriff’s Office annually.
- Attend a swearing-in ceremony (September) and take an oath that the applicant will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a special process server.
What are Process Servers Allowed to Do to Find Someone?
Process servers can use various means to locate their intended recipient. They may:
- Go to the recipient’s residence.
- Go to the recipient’s workplace.
- Go to the recipient’s school.
- Call the recipient.
- Go to any place they believe the recipient may be found.
- Use online resources such as social media.
- After court approval, give the process to a third party or publish it in the local newspaper.
What are Process Servers Prohibited From Doing While Attempting Service?
Process servers in Florida may NOT:
- Serve process in any case in which they are personally invested.
- Serve process on a Sunday.
- Serve process in any area where they are not certified/approved/appointed.
- Touch the recipient’s mailbox or mail slot.
- Wear a disguise or lie about who they are.
- Use drugs or alcohol while serving process.
- Visit the recipient’s workplace without first notifying the employer.
- If the recipient is self-employed, visit the place of business outside of regular business hours.
- Make threats.
- Use offensive or vulgar language.
- Physically contact the recipient.
- Accept tips or bribes.
- Be behind on their child support payments.
- Avoid service of process themselves.
- Do anything that a judge deems negligent, malfeasant, or incompetent.
Process Servers in Plantation, Key West, West Palm Beach, and Miami
As you can see, process servers in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe County are held to high standards. For the most professional process servers in southern Florida, trust the experts at Accurate Serve®. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to serve process in your case quickly, efficiently, and discreetly if needed. Call us at the numbers below, or send us a work request online:
Plantation – (954) 299-1552
Key West – (305) 900-8489
West Palm Beach – (772) 775-4279
Miami – (786) 910-5468