Process Serving Information: What They Can & Can't Do

Randy McCabe

A process server has a very important job. Delivering legal documents at the right time is an extremely important step in the legal process.

A process server delivers essential documents that lets someone know that legal action is being taken against them. Every legal document has specifications for how it can be delivered.

While there is a lot that process servers can do, there is also a lot that they can’t do. Here is an in-depth look at the dos and don'ts when it comes to process serving.

Serving at Home

A process server can legally serve someone at their home. However, there are stipulations about exactly how they can serve someone.

A process server is not allowed to unlock any gate or go into a building that is closed. Process servers cannot legally go on the person's property. If they cannot go onto the property legally they must wait until the person leaves their house and try to serve them in a public place.

A process server cannot harass someone and tell them to come out of their home. Any situation where there is forced entry to give access is also considered illegal.

Stake Out’s are Illegal

A process server is not allowed to linger outside a person's home waiting for an opportunity to serve them. This would be considered a stakeout and it is illegal.

They are also not allowed to follow the person around. What they can do is wait, outside of a friend or a family's home if they believe that the person will visit there. However, this approach must also be done with caution to prevent the process server from crossing into illegal territory.

Children Cannot Be Given Documents

If the person who is to be served has children and they answer the door, the process server cannot legally leave the documents with a child. Leaving the documents with a child is considered illegal.

Anyone under 18 years of age is considered a child. The process server may leave the documents with an older person from the household.

If documents cannot be served then an attorney will have to go to the court and discuss the difficulty of the situation. The attorney can then file a motion to have the person served in a different way.

Proper Process Serving

Process serving is an important job although it is not always an easy one. It can be very challenging especially if the person that is to be served is deliberately trying to be evasive. However, judiciary process servers need to uphold the law and as such must find creative but legal ways to get documents to people.

If a process server is having difficulty serving the document then it is best to get the lawyer working on the case to go to court and file a motion. This will prevent any illegal serving of the document.

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Full-stack Digital Marketer, Ex-Googler located in the heart of downtown Seattle. Featured on DesignRush, Shane Barker & Conversion Fanatics.

Seattle, WA

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