Daytona Beach (386) 569-8475
Palm Coast (386) 864-8119
Titusville (321) 385-7379

Common Process Service Mistakes with Major Consequences

The process of sending and receiving court documents is crucial for the smooth functioning of the legal system. Without an efficient way to make sure legal documents get where they should be, court schedules would back up and cases would remain in deadlock for years on end. That’s why mistakes made in the delivery and receipt of process can be extremely detrimental to everyone involved. In this post, we’ll list several common mistakes made during process service that can lead to major consequences.

Not Delivering Process on Time

Process must be delivered in a timely manner in order to be valid. In Florida, there are set deadlines on when different types of process must be delivered to the intended recipients, whether that be in person or via an alternative service method. For example, most summons and complaints for civil cases must be delivered within 120 days after filing the case with the clerk of court. Different case types will have different deadlines. If the person filing the case (known as the petitioner) does not promptly employ a process server or the local sheriff’s office to deliver the process for their case and misses the deadline, the case could be delayed or thrown out completely. Similarly, if a process server fails to deliver process by the deadline, the case faces similar consequence and the petitioner may be able to seek damages from the process server as well. Either way, missing the deadline to serve process will cause nothing but trouble for everyone.

Not Using a Certified Process Server

In Florida, all private process servers must be certified or otherwise approved to work in the state. Not using a certified process server to deliver process in Florida is a quick way to get the process deemed invalid and have the entire case thrown out. To further complicate this issue, Florida allows individual counties and judicial circuits to govern the process servers in their areas, meaning process servers must be certified or approved to work in that specific county or circuit. A process server certified to work in Duval County won’t have any authority to work in a neighboring county without explicit permission in that county as well. Some judicial circuits have reciprocity agreements for process servers, but most do their own thing and require each process server working in their area to certify.

Ignoring Process

If you ignore the need to send process as a petitioner, your case will be thrown out after a certain amount of time has passed and the clerk of court has not received any affidavits stating that the process was served in a timely manner. This means the petitioner will have to refile the case, including paying all filing fees again, if they want to proceed with their legal matters.

If you choose to ignore process that you have received as a defendant or witness, the penalties are harsher. Defendants and witnesses must comply with court orders. Not doing so runs them at the risk of being in contempt of court, meaning they could receive monetary fines or even jail time for not showing up to court or producing evidence as requested. Furthermore, defendants who do not show up to court can be arrested for failure to appear or may have to deal with a default judgment being made in the case. Default judgements basically mean that the petitioner is granted what they have requested, and the defendant is responsible for paying the petitioner along with court fees.

Not Getting Proof of Service

When you hire a process server to deliver court papers for you, it’s important to speak with them up front about the need for proof of service. You’ll want them to provide you with a copy of this proof, which is often in affidavit form, along with filing a copy with the appropriate court where the case is being heard. Obtaining and filing proper proof of service protects the petitioner and process server from claims that the process was not served properly or not served at all. Defendants and witnesses will often claim this to avoid legal consequences for not showing up to court, but a simple proof of service form is all it takes to rebut these claims.

Daytona Beach’s Premier Process Service Agency is Accurate Serve

For reliable, reputable process service, document retrieval, skip tracing, and diligent searches all along Florida’s east coast, look no further than Accurate Serve of Daytona Beach. Our experienced, knowledgeable servers know how to avoid these common mistakes and get your process served to the right person, at the right time, and in the right place. Call Accurate Serve at 386-569-8475 or send us a work request online and start working with Daytona Beach’s premier process service agency today!