Process Server Task and Rules Guide

Getting Started

To become a process server you must be 18 years or older and must require a process server license. Some states required training exercise to become a process server but state like California does not require for you to do any training. You can go to your local county office and pay a nominal fee to get your application started right away. If you are in the Los Angeles county area you can go here for more detail and application to get started.

Process Server Jobs

A process server will do a variety set of tasks provided by their employer. Most tasks are simple straightforward delivering documents and some jobs range to more logical strategic task like serving celebrities or stake-out service that can require strategy, patience, and most importantly common sense on how to serve the defendant. 

Most process servers usually go to the destinated serve location and just leave if they don’t see the person to serve or if the address may cause some confusion they gave up. An experienced process server will actually stay at the location a bit longer and try to find out if the person they are trying to serve still lives there or have left the property or if the apartment room is still registered under the same person to serve name. That is a clear picture from an experienced process server and a amateur.

Process Server Safety

A process server is not a bounty hunter. You do NOT go around with your gun drawn out and drag people out for questioning. Process serving is not a dangerous job. Most process server jobs required you to do the following

  • Serving Summons
  • Serving divorce document
  • Posting eviction notice papers on the residential or commercial doorstep
  • Serving small claims notice
  • Serving family laws document
  • Stake-out

However, in some cases, the person being served may get irritated by your serving and that can happen. The best way is to keep calm and explain the matter to them that you are just a messenger of the court and have no affiliate or attention to hurt or cause any distress to them. If the person gets too violent, step away from the area and dial 911 in a safe location.

What happens if the defendant doesn’t open the door?

In the state of California, it is required for a process server to go back to the property 3 times if they do not see the defendant around. Even if the defendant is there and does not want to open or show themselves you still have to go back 3 times. You may substitute serve any person that is connected to the defendants if they are over the age of 18 but the process server still needs to go back 3 times before attempting a substitute serve. Each states have different rules so search your local state procedure and rule guide.

Break-in allowed?

NO, a process server cannot break into a business or residential property, however, a process server has rights to enter the residential gate but only to the residential doorstep. Breaking into the residential backyard or stepping inside the residential home is considered illegal. This goes for business as well, in which the process server can enter the business lobby and wait for someone to come out and accept the paper or having someone from the business escort you through the business facility is also acceptable.

What happens if the defendant does not want to accept the paper?

In California, if a process server sees the person and the person does not want to accept the paper, then that is still considered a served. However, it is wise for the process server to take a picture or video to confirm that the person is there. Claiming false service is bad and the judge may revoke the process server license.  The process server can leave the paper next to the person’s feet or doorstep and walk away if the person refuses to accept and that will still consider being a successful serve. It is beneficial for the process server to remember and write down the person being served description like hair, weight, height, race, age, and sex if possible, to submit a successful proof of service report. Some process server like processserverexpress will wear body cam so clearer evidence can be justified that the person attempted to avoid the service and later be revisited if the client or judge asks for it. If the process server can not see the person description but a voice was recorded of the person acknowledging their name and attempting to avoid serve can also be granted as a successful serve from the judge.

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