A crucial part of every case, whether it’s a divorce or a personal injury lawsuit, is the service of process. Lawyers typically hire professional process servers to ensure this is accomplished efficiently and in compliance with the law, as delays and mistakes can lead to negative consequences, such as the dismissal of the case.
Process servers are tasked to file, send, and retrieve legal documents like subpoenas, summonses, and complaints to and from the parties involved. However, while serving process to the right person and on time is critical, there are certain things that process servers can’t do to achieve this.
They Cannot Enter Private Property Without Permission
A process server cannot enter a home unless the person inside allows them to. They cannot open a locked door or gate without permission.
If they enter anyway, the person can sue them for trespassing or breaking and entering.
They Cannot Threaten or Use Force
If the person refuses to open the gate or door, the server cannot coerce the person to open the door or use force to enter. They cannot also threaten them into accepting the legal documents.
They Can’t Leave Papers with Just Anybody
If a process server needs to serve papers to an individual who is difficult to find or rarely home, and if several attempts have been made to serve process to the respondent, they may leave them to someone else in the respondent’s home or place of business. This alternative is called “substituted service.”
However, process servers can’t leave the papers with just anyone—the person needs to be “of a suitable age and discretion.” This means that small children, adults with mental impairments, and intoxicated individuals cannot be substituted.
They Can’t Pretend to be Law Enforcement
Process servers sometimes have to be creative to successfully serve process on an uncooperative or evasive individual. However, that doesn’t mean that they can use deceptive means. For instance, it is illegal in all states for process servers to pretend to be police officers or court officials to compel a person to allow them into their home and accept the documents.
What Can Process Servers Do?
A process server cannot harass or stalk a person they are serving. However, they may perform a stakeout since no law prohibits them from doing so. For instance, they can wait near the homes of the respondent’s known friends and family if they think the person will visit.
If they cannot find the person, they can use skip tracing to identify their location.
Skip tracing is often used to locate people who owe money. Process servers may also use skip tracing to locate respondents who are challenging to find.
Get In Touch with a Reputable Process Server
While any person over 18 years of age can serve documents, it’s best to hire a trusted process server. Unlike a friend or family member, a professional process server in New York City will exhaust all legal avenues to locate and serve respondents in a case. They abide by applicable laws to ensure the integrity of the case is never compromised due to an error in the service of process, and delivery and receipt are documented for their clients’ peace of mind.
At Serve Index LLC, we understand the importance of timely and accurate service of process. Contact us today to learn more about our services.