Why Use A Process Server Instead Of A Sheriff?

When you’ve filed your case with the clerk of the court in Brooklyn, you’ll have three options to have a summons served. You could either have the sheriff serve the defendants, have an (unlicensed) individual serve the defendants, or have a Brooklyn process server serve them.

In New York City, the most commonly used methods are service through the sheriff or through a process server.[/vc_column_text]

Process Servers vs. Sheriffs: How They Differ

Sheriffs and process servers in NYC are both legally qualified to serve process. However, there are some significant differences in how they operate.:

  • Schedule: Sheriffs have fixed 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedules and only work on weekdays. Meanwhile, process servers can serve legal documents during the entire timeframe allowed by the New York State (NYS) Unified Court System: from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Prioritization: Apart from serving documents, sheriffs have other responsibilities such as arresting offenders and providing courtroom security. On the other hand, most process servers focus solely on the serving and retrieval of legal documents. If needed, they can make multiple attempts until the papers are successfully delivered.
  • Service Speed: Sheriffs may take longer to serve legal papers, often delivering them 1 to 3 days after you’ve put in a request. Meanwhile, professional process servers can deliver paperwork in as fast as a few hours to a few days.

Since it’s the job of the sheriff to serve papers, people often wonder why they should use the services of a process server instead. There are five reasons choosing a process server makes more sense than using the services of the sheriff.

The primary reason is that process servers make sure the defendant receives the legal documents. Sheriffs follow a predictable schedule when performing a service, making it easy for the recipient to dodge them. Process servers, on the other hand, are more flexible when it comes to the time and location of their service, ensuring the defendant’s receipt.

A man in black suit extending a handshake

1. Have More Control Over Your Schedule

In New York City you’ll be required to follow specific guidelines if you want the sheriff to serve your documents. Firstly, you’ll need to have sent the original and two copies to the sheriff three weeks prior to the court date. Your Service of Process Intake Sheet and your documents need to be accompanied by the service fee(s). For every additional location the sheriff needs to attempt service at there’ll be an additional fee. Whereas, process server agencies like ours are able to conduct service within a few days (or hours) of receiving the documents, which means you’re in no rush to send them through.

2. Have More Control Over The Service Of Process

While you can give the sheriff identifying information like the make and model of the vehicle a defendant is driving, you won’t have much say as to whether the defendant will be served based on this information. As instances where a defendant is deliberately avoiding service the sheriff can easily be avoided because of the predictability of their service schedule.

3. Get Accurate Service Of Process

Not that the sheriff won’t deliver your documents on time, but a lot can and has gone wrong when sheriff’s are reaching a deadline, trying to serve individuals who are either very busy or making an express effort to dodge service or whose whereabouts are unknown. While these circumstances are out of the scope of the sheriff, they can easily be mitigated by an experienced process server. After all, the sheriff doesn’t have the resources or the incentive to make the effort needed in these situations.

4. Get Tailored Service

Someone can be served any time between 6am and 10pm in New York City. This excludes Sundays and Saturdays for anyone who observes Saturday as holy. Sheriff’s only work Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm giving them very limited capabilities to serve anyone. They’ve also got to create a route that is economical and feasible for them to carry out service leaving them no room to take your specific requests into consideration.
Reliable process servers on the other hand conduct service in a more personalized or tailored manner. They’re able to serve individuals at “unorthodox” locations and at an hour where they’ll likely be available. In the instance where the defendant’s whereabouts are unknown a process server should also be able to have them traced in a matter of hours.

5. Get Error-Free Service Regardless of Location

For a sheriff to serve an individual you need to send the documents and fees to the sheriff’s office in the county where the defendant resides. However, process servers will serve a defendant timeously and without any difficulty as long as they reside within their operating area.

There are host of other reasons choosing a process server is better than choosing a sheriff. In order to reap these benefits though you shouldn’t be choosing any process server only an agency that is reliable, reputable and experienced.

For service of process in New York City’s five boroughs and Long Island Nassau and Suffolk counties get in contact with us today.

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