A registered process server is a person that is certified and trained to deliver (serve) legal documents to individuals and companies, known as defendants or parties. When a criminal or civil case goes to court, the attorneys will alert the parties involved via legal documents. The process server, upon receiving the documents from the attorney, proceeds to deliver the documents to the individual. When we refer to registered process servers, these are usually servers that are registered to serve within a specific county or area of their state, having been trained to do so.
Becoming a process server can be as simple process. The majority of the states in the United States require an individual to be trained and certified by either an attorney or an approved veteran server. Each state has a process server association or state board that governs the laws or process for that state. They should also have a list of approved trainings and courses. State laws and procedures will also dictate the extent of criminal background one can have in order to serve documents.
The primary duty of a process server is to deliver notifications of a pending case to the party or parties involved. Process servers can also be asked to perform other tasks related to service, including surveillance or performing of background checks. It is up to the server to determine if they offer these services.
Cases vary and the attorneys representing each side will provide the person’s identity and address where they believe they can be located to deliver. After the case has been filed in its respective court, the attorneys involved will deliver a court copy of the case with the parties to be notified to the server. The server will then attempt to deliver the notification to the individual they are directed to. The type of case determines the speed of delivery. Citations and petitions tend to be routine and allow up to a few months to locate and serve the documents. Subpoenas to testify and produce documents usually have a smaller time frame for delivery. Temporary restraining orders and writs of garnishment usually demand service within three business days due to the immediate nature of these types of cases.
If you are interested in becoming a registered process server, find out the requirements for your state and begin to learn the laws of civil procedure. Serving legal documents is not the most glamorous job, but it is always in demand and filings of new civil cases continue to grow every year.