National Association of Professional Process Servers

What is a process server and why do I need to hire one?

For many people, their only knowledge of process servers is what they have seen on TV and in movies. The 2008 movie Pineapple Express brought process serving into the mainstream, but unfortunately, it didn’t really communicate exactly what a process server does and the purpose of their job. Process servers play a critical role in the legal justice system, and there may come a day when you need to hire one. Keep reading to learn what a process server does and why people hire them.

The Role of a Process Server

  • Due Process

    The process server essentially upholds an individual’s right to due process, which is a constitutional right. By properly notifying an individual, a process server is upholding the rights afforded to every American by the United States Constitution.

  • Proof of Service

    Additionally, there has to be proof of the individual being notified that can be used in court. When a process server notifies an individual of their impending court date, they provide them with the legal documents about the court case in which they are involved. A process server must record when and where the individual was provided notice in a separate document. This document is also a critical component of service of process. When an individual has been given proper notice of the legal proceedings — meaning when the individual has been “served” properly in accordance with state laws— the process server must provide a document that serves as evidence that this occurred. This document is called a service affidavit, which is notarized and is used in court. Many people in the industry also refer to this same document as a proof of service or return of service.

  • What Kinds of Documents Does a Process Server Deliver?

    A process server can serve a number of different court documents, but most commonly a process server will serve a summons and complaint. A summons is essentially an official notice of a lawsuit. The complaint describes the legal proceedings that are being brought forth to a court. Another court document that could be served is a subpoena, which is a legal document that typically requests documents or evidence for a court case. A subpoena could also require an individual to attend court, such as an expert witness. Other documents could include writs, which is a legal order, or other legal documents.

Why Do You Need a Process Server?

Hopefully, at this point, you have an understanding of what a process server does. If you are taking legal action, you or your lawyer will need to hire a process server to deliver the important court documents. It is important to keep in mind that in some states and/or counties, civil process service is only allowed to be carried out by the sheriff or constable. However, anyone who is serving process is, for all intents and purposes, a process server.

How Do You Find a Good Process Server?

Obviously, as we explained, a process server is upholding a constitutional right that all Americans are afforded by the United States Constitution. But how do you find a process server who will do the job — and do it right? Each state has different regulations that dictate what training, certification, age, etc. a process server must have. Additionally, as new legislation is introduced, it is a process server’s job to stay current with these changes and adjust their process accordingly. For example, a new law could be introduced that civil process service could not be completed on a Sunday or a holiday (this is a law in some states); it would be a process server’s responsibility to stay on top of that change and act accordingly. Process servers who engage with and who are part of process server associations like NAPPS are kept apprised of changing laws and regulations, take part in professional development, and take pride in their work. You can find a process server in our nationwide directory.

If you are interested in hiring a process server, use the largest database of vetted professionals in the industry through NAPPS.

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