Receiving court papers can often be a stressful experience for people. Process serving is an art, which requires professionalism and reliability. Process servers often work with legal firms to assure timely service, as court cases cannot start until a defendant is served.
If you’re looking to serve someone with papers, you must obtain all the vital information about process serving. Acquiring this knowledge will also help you in selecting the right process serving agency for your needs.
What Is Process Servicing?
Process serving is a legal procedure that refers to delivering court documents to the defendant on time. Servicing of Process is a requirement to meet the due clauses in the United States Constitution, which requires that appropriate notice be given to defendants before the court can exhibit personal jurisdiction over them. Process servicing protects the defendants’ rights by ensuring that they’ve been notified properly before court matters can proceed.
Process serving laws vary from state to state.
What Is Due Process?
The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution expressly states that no individual shall be “deprived of liberty, life or property without due process of the law.” Process Serving follows the ‘Due Process’ clauses and ensures that defendants are provided with proper notification to protect their rights under The Fifth Amendment.
The “Due Process” clauses are more concerned with procedure than substance. The clauses ensure that the government operates justly and follows the standard guidelines of operation before depriving citizens of their rights.
It is essential to note the one distinction for Due Process. The government does not need to follow due process when establishing new laws. However, the government must only abide by the due process laws when dealing with citizens.
What Does A Process Server Do?
Process servers are vital to the legal world because they perform a wide array of tasks. Many process service agencies provide services such as documents and electronic filing. Some of the job responsibilities of process servers include filing court papers and delivering legal documents to defendants.
Serving someone court papers means that the individual in question is being summoned to court due to an impending legal case against them. Sometimes, individuals will try to be elusive and hide their whereabouts to prevent being served with the required notice. Process servers are trained to locate individuals who are onerous to find. This quality of process servers is also why litigants often hire them.
Why Should I Hire A Process Service?
We recommend hiring a process service agency. Process servers know the complexities of process serving and ensure that the documents are provided correctly and on time to the defendant. In addition, a process server can offer you convenience and save time and money, which are often associated with the pitfalls of serving court documents.
Most importantly, process servers can be helpful when the defendant is elusive. Process servers can help to track down such defendants and serve them with the requisite papers. Most states also render plaintiffs ineligible to provide court documents, which means that a third party, a disinterested individual, must be the one to serve the papers.
Why Can I Not Serve The Papers Myself?
Most states do not allow the plaintiff to serve the court papers. There is a requirement for a disinterested third-party to present the documents. The third-party must also be over 18. These requirements mean that the only options for serving papers are friends or family or hiring a process servicing agency. However, improper service can cause court delays, and it is recommended that you hire a professional process servicing agency.
In some extraordinary cases, plaintiffs may be allowed to serve court papers themselves. However, in this scenario, the defendant has to sign a formal waiver.
How Do I Choose The Right Process Server?
Choosing the right process server is critical. Poor service can result in court delays. In addition, the defendant must be presented with the required documents on time. We recommend assessing the organization based on how long they have been operating and referring to testimonials. You should also compare the fee structure to ensure that you select the best process serving agency for you.
Elite Process offers legal processing services in New York. We have an established track record of successfully serving over eighteen years.
Should I Choose A Process Server Located Where I Live Or Where I Am Trying To Serve Papers?
We recommend that you choose a process server where the defendant is located so that documents can be served quickly. Elite Process is a professional process server agency located in Whitestone, New York. We offer same-day process serving in New York to ensure that all your documents are presented to the defendant on time.
What Documents Are Required To Serve Process?
You must initially file paperwork at your local courthouse. Following this, the courthouse will provide you with the requisite documents for process serving. We recommend keeping the originals for yourself and using the copies for dispatching. The documents necessary to initiate this process include a copy of the filed complaint and a copy of the summons. In divorce cases, the summon is referred to as divorce summons papers, and you’ll also be presented with a joint preliminary injunction.
How Do I Send The Court Documents To The Process Server?
You can send court documents to the service provider through fax or email in most cases. However, in some rarer circumstances, original court-stamped papers may have to be served. Original documents can be mailed, delivered in person, or you can make arrangements for the process server to collect them from you.
Can Court Papers Be Served To Defendants At Any Time?
Process serving has many complexities which can only be handled adequately by a professional serving agency. Defendants must be served court documents appropriately. Poor service can render the delivery void.
Some states, such as New York, don’t allow defendants to be served with court papers at their residence on a Sunday. New York also does not allow individuals to be presented with court papers while traveling to or from the court. Similarly, many states also don’t allow legal documents to be served on a public holiday.
Process Servers are also required to make multiple attempts to serve the defendant with the legal documents personally. Therefore, process servers will attempt to contact the defendant in person between 3-5 times, after which they may pursue other delivery methods.
Other delivery methods include substituted service, which allows the process server to leave the documents at the defendant’s listed place of residence with another person who also happens to share the same listed home. Other instances also allow the process server to leave the documents at their workplace with management personnel. However, it’s important to note that substituted service laws vary state by state. Some states only allow for substituted service if the defendant has authorized someone, in writing, to accept legal documents on their behalf.
What Happens If The Defendant Refuses To Accept Papers?
Process servers do not need to establish verbal confirmation regarding the identity of the defendant to serve them. They’re also not required to confirm acceptance from the defendant they are presenting with the court papers. Many states also allow for “drop service.” Drop service means that when a defendant refuses to accept the documents after contact has been established, the process server can place the documents near them. The process server can then notate the circumstances, and it qualifies as a successful service.
What Happens If The Defendant Is Elusive To Find?
If a defendant proves to be elusive to track down, other methods can be employed. A process server is lawfully required first to check all places of public record; these include local hospitals, the tax office, the department of motor vehicles, and financial institutions. If contact still can’t be established, the process server may attempt to do a substitute service if allowed in their operating state.
In some cases, where substitute service also isn’t allowed or doesn’t work out, process servers are required to sign an “Affidavit of Due Diligence and Inquiry.” This document will include details, including all the attempts of contact that the process server made. A pre-requisite for this document is that the process server must have tried to approach the defendant on three separate occasions and times. The process server is also required to present the court with the defendant’s last known address.
Once the court approves, a notice must be issued in the newspaper, and it must run for at least 32 days. This notice requires another affidavit to be signed by the plaintiff and provides the defendant with further opportunity to receive and acknowledge the notice.
What Is An Affidavit Of Service?
An affidavit of service is proof of service, which is presented to you by your process server. The affidavit is an official document that serves as a testimony to the court regarding legal documents being delivered to the defendant.
An affidavit of service differs from an affidavit of due diligence and inspection. The former is provided when the documents have officially been supplied to the defendant. In contrast, the latter is provided if the defendant cannot be found.
What Other Methods Of Serving Papers Exist?
Other ways to serve papers include substitute serving, serving documents via mail, and providing notice in the newspaper.
Substitute serving allows papers to be left with another individual in the stead of the defendant. However, substitute serving is not permitted in all states. Some states allow for the defendant to authorize another person, in writing, to accept papers on their behalf.
Serving papers via mail is another method. However, this method is ineffective with uncooperative defendants as it requires them to return a mail with an acknowledgment within 30 days of receipt.
A notice in the newspaper is used as a last-resort option if the defendant cannot be served in person by the process server.
How Much Does A Process Service Cost?
The cost of serving someone with court papers varies depending on the location and how hard it would be for the process server to locate them. The total costs may also be affected by how many attempts the process server will require to contact the defendant, along with the distance they will have to travel. Typically, the costs of serving court documents range between $55-$75. When hiring a process server, make it a priority to ask them how many attempts they will require, how long it will take to serve the documents, and how much it will cost.
Elite Process offers process serving starting from $55 in the five boroughs of New York.
Can Process Servers Serve Papers By Whatever Means Necessary?
Process servers are still required to follow the rules of the law when serving defendants. They are not allowed to use whatever means necessary. However, there have been instances where process servers have used creative methods of delivering documents to elusive defendants, ranging from waiting for defendants outside shower areas of public beaches to confronting them in an elevator.
Do Process Servers Need To Be Certified?
Process servers that need to be certified vary from state to state. Many states do not require certification for process servers. However, there are some states, such as California, which require process servers to be certified.
Other states, such as New York, do not need process servers to be certified statewide. However, New York does require process servers to be licensed within certain regions. For instance, a process server operating within the five boroughs of New York (Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island) does need a license from the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. These fees can be quite hefty, with an individual process server required to pay $10,000, whereas an agency must pay $100,000 for a surety bond for the entirety of their license term. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs also requires all process servers to pass a test on relevant rules and laws before issuing a license or renewal.
Elite Process is a fully licensed process serving agency covering all five boroughs of New York, providing process serving from the Bronx to legal services in Staten Island.
How Does One Become A Process Server?
The procedure for becoming a process server may vary based on where you reside. However, if you wish to become a process server in New York, there are certain steps that you must take to be able to serve in the entire state.
Process servers must take an individual license exam to serve papers in all five boroughs of New York. You can schedule your exam as quickly as 24 hours after the DCA has processed your application and is taken at either the DCA Licensing Center or the NYC Small Business Center. The exam is held between 9 AM-3 PM, Monday to Friday.
Each application provides candidates with two opportunities to take the exam. However, if an individual fails both attempts, they’re required to pay the license and registration fees again before retaking the test. If you pass the test, the DCA will mail you a license.
The exam generally consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. To pass the test, you must score at least 21 questions correctly.
It is also vital to remember that you must pass the test within 30 days of your application. Otherwise, your application will be denied.
What Do Career Prospects Look Like For Process Servers?
Demand for a career as a process server is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates up to 10% growth by 2029 in available jobs for people who assist the legal system. Process servers are a fundamental part of the legal system and set the foundation for all legal matters. Court proceedings cannot occur without proper notice being presented to a defendant. Thus, the career outlook for process servers appears bright, despite it being a position where a high school diploma suffices, and an undergraduate degree is not required.
Serving Legal Documents in New York
Process serving is not straightforward. Complex laws make it difficult for individuals to provide papers without using a professional serving agency. In most cases, plaintiffs are not allowed to serve papers to defendants, thus requiring an independent third party to deliver documents.
If you’re looking to serve court papers in New York, we are a licensed and professional agency that can provide you convenience and reliability. We, at Elite process, have a proven record of delivering over the past eighteen years, and our coverage spans across all five boroughs of New York. Our services range from civil summons and complaints to serving divorce summons papers and offering same-day process services. Contact us for the solution to all your process serving needs.