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How to Spot a Fake Process Server

Using a certified process server to serve process in Tallahassee is required by law. Only process servers approved by the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Florida may serve legal process here in Leon County. If you mistakenly use an uncertified server, any work they do for your cases is invalid. This will cause delays, extra costs, and maybe even grounds for dismissal.

Spot fake process servers and avoid future problems by asking the following questions:

Are they certified by the 2nd Judicial Circuit?

All private process servers in Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Franklin, Jefferson, and Liberty counties must be certified by the local sheriff’s office or Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit. It is important to note that being certified in the 2nd Judicial Circuit only allows the process server to work in the six counties covered by the circuit. Being approved by the Sheriff only allows the process server to work in that one specific county where the Sheriff has authority. Jurisdiction is very important when serving process, so be sure you’re using a server that is legally allowed to serve process where you need it. 

Even though there are differences in how each judicial circuit or Sheriff approves process servers, the basic requirements are similar for all:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have no mental disabilities
  • Have no personal involvement in any case 
  • Be a permanent Florida resident
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay the application fee
  • Have a clean background and criminal history
  • Possess a Certificate of Good Conduct filed with the court or sheriff’s office
  • Passage of a training course and exam
  • Posting of a $5,000 surety bond
  • Submit letters of recommendation (not required in all areas)

If you’re researching a potential process server in northern Florida and they cannot produce proof of approval or certification in the appropriate county, move on to the next candidate. You should directly contact the 2nd Judicial Circuit, sheriff’s offices, or check online to verify any server that claims they are certified.

Are they knowledgeable about relevant laws?

Reputable process servers will know all about the laws that relate to serving process in the areas where they are certified. In the 2nd judicial circuit, private process servers must pass an examination on process server laws before being certified. If the process server you’re considering has a history of any of the following, move on to the next candidate:

  • Attempting to serve process on Sunday
  • Wearing disguises
  • Lying about their identity
  • Giving process recipients advice about their cases
  • Threatening or trying to intimidate process recipients
  • Engaging in illegal activities, such as breaking and entering or trespassing

Working with an unauthorized, incompetent process server can give the defendant grounds to reschedule court dates, suppress evidence, or even get the case dismissed.

Do they have a robust network?

Someone new to process serving is most likely fine to serve an easy-to-locate target with no history of violence or criminal activity. But, if you personally know the defendant or the witness in your case is going to be a hassle to find, it’s better to go with a process server who has more connections. Process servers with connections in the industry get things done faster. At Accurate Serve®, we’ve been serving process in Florida since 2009, growing one of the largest networks in the industry. Our servers have the resources necessary to hunt down even the most elusive litigants.

Is their experience verifiable?

Ask any process server you intend to hire for professional references from former employers and clients. Inability to produce any references from a server who claims to be experienced is a red flag. Satisfied prior customers should have no problem giving the server a recommendation, nor should a previous employer with which the server left on good terms. If the server you are considering works for Accurate Serve®, there’s no doubt that their experience, training, and professionalism is on point. All of our servers are rigorously vetted so that only the absolute best join our team.

Legitimate Process Servers in Tallahassee

Accurate Serve® has been helping Florida attorneys get their jobs done faster for over 12 years now, and we’d love to show you how we can help your firm too! Check out our reviews to see why we’re considered one of Tallahassee’s premier process service agencies. If you are located outside of Florida’s 2nd judicial circuit, visit theaccurateservefranchise.com to find your local office.