Process servers have a pretty tough job, because they need to serve important court documents to individuals for a variety of reasons that are often unfavorable to the recipient. It’s certainly not an easy task, and it’s made even harder by the fact that there are a lot of rules and regulations surrounding it. While serving a subpoena, a professional and licensed process server will always serve documents with integrity. This involves keeping in mind things they are not allowed to do when attempting service:
#1 Be confused about the laws. Civil process service has quite a bit of regulations that vary depending on location, so process servers must be sure to stay up to date with state and local laws as they are always changing. Because of the complex nature of civil process service, a process server cannot assume that one state’s rules are applicable throughout the entire U.S. The truth is that each state carries its own set of rules when it comes to how service can be made, what days service can be attempted, who can accept service, and how documents are handled. For example, some states prohibit service on Sundays and holidays while others allow it. It is best to be totally knowledgeable in all of this so a served document is not thrown out in court.
#2 Pretend to be anything they are not. A misconception that television and movies portrays is a process server pretending to be someone else in order to trick the recipient into speaking to them. While this may make for great comedy or drama, it cannot happen in real life. Subpoena services require deliver court documents, and sometimes it may require an individual to get creative to reach evasive defendants. Being creative doesn’t mean being deceptive by attempting service under false pretenses or violating state laws, including pretending to be a police officer.
#3 Go into someone’s mailbox. While there is no crime against visually seeing an address that is in plain view, which means with your eyes only, it is a crime to meddle with or open someone else’s mail. This means that you cannot open someone’s mailbox or go through a stack of mail, even for process servers. The bottom line is that if it’s a crime, it’s still a crime for a process server as well.
#4 Trespass on any private property. Just the same as pretending to be a police officer or going into someone else’s mail, it is still illegal for a process server to trespass. Yes, this can make serving papers quite difficult. If someone refuses to come to the door or just doesn’t answer, a process server is still bound by the laws that prevent someone from breaking into and entering a residence or business illegally. Just because a person has legal documents to serve doesn’t mean they can break the law in order to do so.
Sometimes, the recipient isn’t thrilled to receive the documents, and it can be difficult to effectuate service. A process server will still have the professional know-how to get the job done!