When it comes time to serve a court summons or other legal papers, many people believe – erroneously – that simply by avoiding the process server, they can avoid being served and the legal ramifications that would come from that court document. This thought often causes people to decide to evade a process server; fortunately for us process servers, there are several reasons that avoiding a process server doesn’t actually work. Here’s why not:
Why Service Matters
In a lawsuit, the court case cannot actually legally proceed until the defendant has been notified of the proceedings. This is, essentially, a way to ensure that everyone gets a heads-up and has time to prepare to defend themselves. Process service is the legal method for the courts to show that every effort was made to notify the defendant of the legal action being taken against them so they could prepare themselves before the court case proceeds. However, because some people take extreme methods to ensure they can’t be served – thinking that, if they can’t be served, the case can’t carry forward – process servers occasionally have to find ways to circumvent the issue.
The “Drop Serve”
A “drop serve” occurs when a process server literally drops the legal papers in front of the defendant and tells them they have been served. Of course, the process server has to have made a concerted effort to locate, identify, and serve the defendant prior to this. If the defendant refuses to physically accept the papers, but the process server has managed to identify the subject at a known address, it can often be permissible to drop the papers in front of the defendant or at their door rather than physically forcing them to grab the legal papers. This action, combined with mailing a certified letter to the defendant’s address can legally substitute for physically handing the papers to the defendant.
Another option, when a defendant is being evasive, is to consign the legal documents to the care of a competent adult. In order to do this, the papers have to be left with a suitable adult at the defendant’s home or business and mail the summons and complaint to their home or work address via certified mail. Substituted service generally cannot be performed anywhere but the defendant’s home or work address, but it is a legal way of serving court papers, as long as a cohabitant or worker at the defendant’s known addresses is served on their behalf.
Generally speaking, as long as the papers are visible to the person in question and a concerted effort has been made, there are ways to legally serve the defendant without forcing them to touch or grab the documents. At McKinney Process Service, we have seen a wide variety of ways defendants have tried to avoid being served, and we know how to legally serve them anyway. If you need a court summons or other legal papers server in Arkansas, call McKinney Process Serve to schedule your process service today!