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What is Service of Process?
Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person of a court or administrative body’s exercise of its jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body or other tribunal. Usually, notice is furnished by delivering a set of court documents (called “process”) to the person to be served. *1
Who can serve papers?
Keep in mind that process serving laws differ from state to state and may change. Some states require a that process server be licensed, some require registration with the county and in some states they are required to post a surety bond. *2
The State of Oklahoma is fairly strict on who can serve papers and where they can serve them at. It is required that a person wishing to serve papers in the State of Oklahoma must acquire a Surety bond, apply with their local county and pay a legal fee, included in this process the courts will request any law enforcement agency that does not believe you should be licensed to file a report to the county clerk as to why. You must also post a notice in a public place at the court house stating you are requesting this licenses and if any one has an objection to it they must file a notice with the court clerk. If your background checks out and no one has contested your licenses, the district judge will sign and authorize your licenses.
How much does it cost to get papers served?
Prices vary depending on what is being served, how many parties are included and what area papers are to be served. These prices range from $30 to $65 per paper.
Prices may also be raised for mileage or if the server must “skip-trace” and locate the subject. The price may also be raised if there is a “Rush” to get the serve completed.
How long does it take to get papers served (TAT)
In the process serving business, Turn around Time or TAT is a very good question you should always ask any server you hire. There are usually three tiers on TAT
- Same Day – Same Day – This usually costs the most, This requires the server to put everyone else on hold, complete your serve and file or return documents to you all in the same day.
- Rush – Attempted within 3 days. This is the most common type needed. Unless your court date is 30+ days away, it is a good idea to use this service.
- Standard Service – This service is mostly used for documents that are not needing to be served right away. The first attempt is 5 to 7 days after papers are received.
Where can people be served?
Again, like licensing, this can vary from state to state. The state of Oklahoma does not discriminate on place or time a serve can take place. If a licensed process server locates someone, he can follow through with the serve any time of the day.
What if the person does not accept the papers?
As with everything, this changes. Some states may require a signature or witness signature. Other states require you touch the person with the papers. The state of Oklahoma does not require either. If the Licensed Process Server can verify the person they are talking to is the person named on the documents they can perform what is refered to as a drop serve. A drop serve, the documents are simply placed on the ground as close to the named person as possible. The Process Server will have to include this in the affidavit documents that is sent to the courts and may have to visually identify the person at a later time.
What is an Affidavit of Service?
Once service of process has been effected, the responsible officer or process server must typically file a return of service or proof of service or “Affidavit of Service” with the court (or convey one to the plaintiff to file with the court). The return of service indicates the time and place at which service was effected, the person served, and any additional information needed to establish that service was properly made. It is signed by the process server, and operates as prima facie evidence that service of process was effectively made. *1