In the past, a county sheriff’s office would handle legal service of court documents. But over time, sheriffs could no longer handle the work load of both law enforcement and tracking down persons to be served with legal documents. Every state in the US has laws specifying who can conduct process of service. With the expertise and tracking abilities of a most private investigators, you might be asking yourself, “Can a private investigator serve court papers?”
Can a Private Investigator Serve Court Papers?
Yes, a PI can serve court papers, but every state is different. Many states allow anyone over the age of 18 who is not party to the case to serve legal papers. This is true in California, but anyone who serves papers more than 10 times per year must register with the state by posting a cash bond and passing a background check.
The rules are different for PI’s though. California has very strict requirements for licensing as a private investigator in the state. For this reason, in California licensed private investigators are exempt from registering as process servers. Many other states in the US have similar laws, so check with your state before you hire a process server to handle your legal paperwork.
Many states’ requirements model the laws in California, but others are more stringent. For instance, in Nevada you must be a citizen who is at least 21 years old, pass a background check, have 2 years of experience as a process server, pass a state exam, and carry not less than $200,000 in professional liability insurance.
Hire a Private Investigator to Handle Your Court Papers
While there are many highly professional process service agencies in the US, the relatively low barrier to entry means pretty much anyone who can pass a background check can register as a process server. Hiring a licensed private investigator ensures a level of expertise and professionalism that you won’t find with a random person who is only registered to serve process.
Trying to find people who do not want to be found is one of the bigger challenges of process serving. Most private investigators have expertise in “skip tracing,” PI lingo for tracking down people whose whereabouts are unknown. PI’s use a wide range of methods and techniques to find missing persons. When a person is located, a PI can use various ruses to coax a person into coming out into the open where they can be served court papers.
Why do Private Investigators Serve Court Papers?
Due process is a Constitutionally protected right in the United States that guarantees fair treatment under the law. Due process also requires the government to follow certain legal formalities before depriving a person of life, liberty, or property. Part of due process requires that a person be formally notified when they are the subject of criminal or civil court proceedings. Private Investigators ensure due process is protected by making every reasonable effort to serve court papers.
When initiating a lawsuit or preparing a criminal defense case, you’ll eventually have court documents that require service to the parties named on the documents. It may seem like a simple task to hand court papers over to the appropriate person, but as you may likely discover, a lot of people have absolutely no desire to be summoned to court. Who can serve court papers? Can a private investigator serve court papers for you?
Can a Private Investigator Serve Court Papers?
In California, anyone who is age 18 years or older and is not involved in the case being litigated can serve legal papers. Any private person who conducts more than 10 services of process per year must register with the state and post $2,000 cash surety bond. Basically anyone can register to be a process server in California.
On the other hand, licensed California private investigators are exempt from these requirements of registered process servers – California Business and Professions Code 22350(b)(4).
A process server can be good option in specific situations. For instance, if a person is willing to be served or if they’re very easy to find, a process server is an economical option.
On the other hand, a licensed private investigator can help track down difficult people and can conduct surveillance to ensure the right person is served. Unlike most process servers, private investigators have access to proprietary databases to help identify accurate contact information. And because California has such stringent laws to become a licensed private investigator, a PI will have the training and experience to more safely serve an otherwise difficult defendant or witness.
H7 Investigative Services conducts service of process in Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
If you want to know how our agency can help with your case, click through to our consultation request page or call us at (661)454-7513.