How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Process Server in California?

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A process server “serves” or delivers legal notices and court documents to individuals and their legal representatives. This delivery of documents is called the “service of process.” This legal process is followed by courts and other tribunals in California and other states to give proper notice to all parties involved in a legal case. This process server in California has to deliver legal documents as per the rules and guidelines in provincial law. If not, they will be considered invalid and not recognized in court. The delivery method will depend on the type of document and the rules set forth by the particular court where the legal action is taking place.  

Duties of a Process Server 

While the primary duty of a process server is to serve legal documents, they perform other jobs like filing court documents, retrieving legal documents, and offering skip tracing services. They may work independently or with a process serving company, a court, municipality, or a private investigative firm. 

What Should a Process Server Not Do 

While process servers have a certain set of duties they can perform, there are certain things that they cannot do. Listed below are some of these things: 

  • Assume Rules and Guidelines 

The rules and laws of one state may not apply to another. Each state has its own set of laws regarding serving documents. Whether it is how the documents are served, what day the service can be made, who can accept the papers, and how they can be handled, every state has specific guidelines. A process server should know the rules of the civil process in the state where they will be serving the documents.  

  • Cannot Pretend to be Someone Else 

The main job of a process server is to deliver legal documents. Sometimes, process servers may have to be creative to make non-cooperative defendants cooperate. While they can try different ways to get to the defendant, they should not pretend to be someone else. This will be considered deception and a violation of state law. 

  • Cannot Harass or Use Threats 

A process server cannot threaten anyone to open the door if they are not being cooperative. They cannot force the person to let them enter the building and accept the legal papers. 

  • Cannot Give the Papers to a Minor 

While it is tempting to leave the legal papers with anyone who opens the door, the process server must not leave them with a minor. If the person being served is evasive, the server may leave the papers with another adult household member. 

  • Cannot Pretend to be Law Enforcement 

While many retired police officers take up the job of a process server, this job is not a part of law enforcement. If a process server impersonates the police or government officer, it will be considered illegal.  

  • Cannot Break and Enter a Property 

A process server cannot break the door and enter someone’s house if they refuse to open the door. Even if they have documents to serve, it is considered illegal to break into someone’s property without their consent. 

How to Hire a Process Server 

A process server should be reputable, professional, and organized. You can contact the servers in your local area and check their fees and methods of working. Most process servers will speak to you over the phone or email and answer any questions about the legal process and their working method. Here are some things to keep in mind when hiring a process server: 

  • Find Someone Competent 

You must find a competent process server to deliver your legal documents. If you cannot do your research on individual process servers, you can contact a legal process service like D&R Legal Process Service, LLC. Their team of experienced professionals specializes in handling and filing legal documents. You won’t have to worry about the process server not being familiar with local laws and rules or the server’s experience and success rate. 

  • Compare Rates

The cost of serving papers frequently depends on the number of attempts and the anticipated turnaround time. Some process servers may be more expensive than others. Compare the cost and success rates of multiple process servers before picking one.  

  • Check for Association Memberships

Check for state memberships when evaluating process servers. A process server who is a member of a local or national association is likely to be more familiar with the latest regulations.  

  • Find Out About Communication Methods 

You should be able to contact the process server easily. If you have to make multiple attempts to contact the server or go through different hassles, then hiring them is no use. Whether it is informing you once the task is accomplished or giving you regular status updates, you should be comfortable with the server’s communication method before hiring them. 

How Much Does a Process Server Cost 

Process serving costs can vary from case to case as well as state to state. Papers that need to be served urgently or on the same day will cost higher. A routine serve usually takes 5-7 days after receiving the papers. This can cost in the range of $20 – $100. The national average for process server costs is between $45 and $75. You must check different servers in a particular area, verify their costs, turnaround times, and the number of attempts before hiring them. If a person is evasive and you need them located, you may also have to pay mileage fees or skip tracing fees.  

No matter who you hire as your process server, you must provide as much information to them as possible so they find the other party easily and serve the papers. The more information you share with the server, the higher the success rate. This information includes the latest residential and business addresses of the person to be served, phone numbers, vehicle details, work hours, photos, and physical descriptions. This information will help the process server locate the person to be served easily.