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Why You Can’t Serve Papers Yourself (or Have a Friend Serve Them)

If you are representing yourself in a civil legal matter, you probably need to keep your costs to a minimum. That might tempt you to cut some corners, like not hiring a process server. However, it is extremely important that you do not serve the papers yourself or have a friend serve them. Only certain people can serve papers in Pensacola. Here’s what you need to know.

Who can serve papers?

Your legal papers can be served by one of two groups of people. Florida state law requires that all persons who conduct service of process be trained, vetted, and approved by the courts. 

The first option is the sheriff’s department. The sheriff or any of the deputies for Escambia County can serve papers to the county’s residents. If you have papers that need to be served in a different county, you will need to go to that county’s sheriff’s department for assistance.

The second option is a private process server. These individuals must show proof of training, pass an exam, obtain a $5,000 bond, undergo a background check, and several other hoops before they are able to register with the courts. 

Private process servers can only operate in counties that they are registered in, but they can register in more than one county. This can be very helpful if you have a multi-jurisdictional case. 

What happens if I try to serve the papers?

If you or a friend try to serve the papers yourselves, you could be fined by the court for falsifying proof of service or have your case completely dismissed. If the discrepancy doesn’t come up until after you’ve been paid your judgement, you could even have to repay that money.

To avoid complications with your civil case, don’t cut corners on service. Contact us today for fast, easy service.

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