Rules Every Process Server Must Follow
There’s a lot of confusion out there related to what process servers are and are not allowed to do while serving process. Hollywood has played a part in distorting the public’s view about what a process server does, depicting servers in disguises sneaking up on unsuspecting victims. However, professional process servers, like those here at Accurate Serve® in East Central Florida, never behave this way. Additionally, the state of Florida also governs and oversees the process server industry here.
Process servers in Florida must abide by the following rules in order to serve process legally:
Obtain the Appropriate Certification
All process servers in the state of Florida must be certified, appointed, or otherwise approved by an authoritative agency as described in Chapter 48 of the Florida Statutes. These laws allow each county to determine how they want to handle private process server certification. In Volusia and Flagler counties, private process servers must be individually appointed by a judge to each case in which they intend to serve process. However, in Brevard and Seminole counties, process servers must complete the certification process outlined by Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit. Without following the specific appointment or certification rules set forth by each county and/or judicial circuit, any process served is invalid.
Regardless of which county or judicial circuit controls approving process servers, all must follow the basic laws in Florida about who can legally serve process in the state:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Not have any affiliation with the case being served
- Be mentally and legally competent
- Be a permanent resident of Florida
- Submit to a background investigation, including criminal history
- Obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct
- Pass an examination demonstrating knowledge of process server laws
- Post a surety bond
- Take an oath
Serve the Right Person
It is crucial for the process server to accurately identify the intended recipient of the process before handing over any documents. Process recipients have a right to privacy, so giving official court paperwork to anyone other than the person(s) named is not allowed. In very limited situations, a spouse or other person over 15 years old residing in the same residence as the recipient may be served, but it’s always best to personally serve the recipient to avoid any negligence claims.
Always Operate Ethically
It should come as no surprise that the state of Florida mandates ethical behavior from all process servers since they require a certificate of good conduct and clean criminal history to be approved in the first place. In addition to meeting these initial requirements, servers are expected to maintain decorum and tact in all their interactions, both personal and professional. While in the serving process, servers must not lie or be deceitful in any way. Process servers should always be upfront about the purpose of their visit and should never pretend to be someone else. Immoral or unethical behavior, even outside of work hours, can cause a server to be banned from working in the state entirely.
Don’t Break Any Laws
Process servers are not allowed to break any local, state, or federal laws while serving process in Florida. This means they must not trespass, break and enter, harass or threaten recipients, or use any type of violence while serving process. Being accused of a crime can ruin the server’s reputation, and being convicted of a crime can lead to a permanent ban.
Process Servers on the Atlantic Coast
If you need a process server in Daytona Beach, Titusville, or Palm Coast, look no further than the expert team at Accurate Serve®. Our servers always follow the rules, so you’ll never have to worry about delays in your case due to improper service. Give us a call at (386) 569-8475 or send us a work request online to get started today.