In many states, the requirements for serving papers are pretty relaxed: The server needs only be 18 years of age or older and not involved in the conflict. Many people, therefore, decide to ignore professional process servers and send documents through a local sheriff.
Although using a local sheriff’s office is less expensive and requires less research, choosing this route isn’t necessarily the best course of action. Read on to find out why you should hire a professional process server:
Professional process servers spend their entire day gathering information to trace the intended party. Since they’re not paid until the service is complete, they’re motivated to complete the job quickly and efficiently.
On the other hand, sheriffs already have a full-time job. They’re occupied with matters that need their immediate attention. As a result, they’re less likely to prioritize this matter—an action that is good for the state but not so much for the customer who needs the papers served immediately.
Knowledge of Laws
Although the sheriff’s departments have knowledge about laws, it’s not the kind of knowledge that will help you as a customer. On the other hand, process servers know the Rules of Civil Procedure. They know how to serve papers correctly and in multiple jurisdictions. They’re aware of how to fill out an Affidavit of Service that shows they’ve done their work properly. Moreover, while sheriffs departments are restricted in many jurisdictions, process servers can provide their services in local, state, and federal cases.
As mentioned above, the sheriff’s office is opened for everyone. It’s the law. They’re not in the customer service business. As a result, people who use their services will feel dissatisfied because of a lack of updates or unresponsiveness.
With process servers, your experience will definitely be different and better. Part of their business entails making their clients happy with their experience. Therefore, they provide regular updates and are also available if you have questions. They work diligently round the clock, and even if you provide them with a bad address, they’re likely to track down the subject and serve them.
If you need a process server to identify the person they’ve served or answer questions about the whole process in court, they’ll show up and sit for hours. They’ll also describe in detail the entire process they went through to track down the intended party. It’s a requirement for the process server, but not for a sheriff. You’ll be lucky if the sheriff decides to show up to court at all—given how busy their schedules are.
Using a Sheriff’s Office Vs. Hiring a Process Server
In some cases, you might be required to use the sheriff’s office in place of a process server such as:
- If the person lives in a rural area
- You don’t have the budget
- The person is in federal prison
If you’re looking for how to serve legal papers in New York State or outside it, we’re here to help you. We’re one of the leading law firms in New York. We offer a range of services to our clients. If you have any questions, just reach out, and we’ll get back to you!