What Rules Do Process Servers Have to Follow?
Process servers must follow strict rules when delivering legal documents. There is no room for error, and making a mistake while the serving process can derail a plaintiff’s entire case. At best, the court date will need to be rescheduled. At worst, the case will be entirely dismissed! Either way, the reputation of both the process server and the attorney will suffer and the total case expenses will skyrocket. To say that entire court cases hinge on the actions of the process server is not an exaggeration.
Process servers must follow specific rules to become certified in Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties. Once certified, the process server must continue to follow these rules while on the job.
Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit establishes the certification procedure for process servers in its six counties. To be certified in the 2nd circuit, the potential process server must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Have no mental disability.
- Be a Florida resident.
- Submit a completed application.
- Pass a fingerprint-based background check.
- Submit an advisory letter from each Sheriff in the six circuit counties.
- Pay all certification fees.
- Take out a $5,000 surety bond.
- Pass a training course and exam.
Failure to meet any of these requirements will lead to disqualification as a process server until all of the requirements are met. Applications are only reviewed once per year in the 2nd Circuit, so it’s important for aspiring process servers to gather the required information and forms well before the annual submission deadline. Once certified, the process server must renew their certification each year to continue working in the 2nd Judicial Circuit.
If a process server works without completing the certification procedure or annual renewal procedure as outlined by the Second Judicial District, all processes they serve are invalid. Anyone who paid for their services will need to hire a certified process server to re-serve all the case processes, causing delays, confusion, and extra expenses.
On The Job Rules
The rules don’t stop once a process server is certified. While working in the field, process servers must be extra diligent to follow the letter of the law. Their client’s cases literally depend on how closely they adhere to all process server laws. In Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, certified process servers must:
- Always be honest about their identities.
- Not have a stake in the outcome of a case for which they serve process.
- Never threaten or abuse anyone, both at work and in their personal lives. Deviant personal behavior can be grounds for revoking a process server’s certification.
- Only enter the property that is public or where they have been expressly invited. Trespassing is forbidden and dangerous.
- Only serve process Monday through Saturday. Serving on Sunday is prohibited.
- Notify the target’s employer before attempting to serve a person at their workplace.
- Only attempt service of a business owner at work during that business’ normal hours of operation.
- Hand delivers process to its recipient in person unless alternative service has been approved by a judge.
There’s no way to create an exhaustive list of all process server rules, as the industry is constantly evolving to handle new situations related to technology, the internet, and their place in civil and criminal processes. Process servers must use their experience to adapt to whatever situation is thrown at them and learn when to ask for guidance from court officials. This is where experience becomes a major advantage. At Accurate Serve, our team of skilled process servers know how to think fast and adapt to the ever-changing legal system while still following all the rules, so your case’s integrity is never compromised. If you are in the Tallahassee area and need reliable certified process servers, call (850) 519-5494 to find out how Accurate Serve can help you with all your service of process, document retrieval, and other search needs.