January 30, 2021 | Oklahoma Law
When an individual files a lawsuit or takes legal action against another individual or party—whether it be a divorce or a personal injury matter—the plaintiff in the case needs to inform the defendant that they are suing them. In order to inform them of the suit or legal action, a process server might be hired to deliver the legal notices to the defendant.
In the state of Oklahoma, process servers have to meet certain qualifications and obtain a license before they can serve papers to the necessary parties. Some of these qualifications include:
- A process server must be 18 years of age or older
- A process server cannot have committed a felony in Oklahoma or another state
- A process server must pay all fees, submit the appropriate application, and execute a $5000 bond with the state.
There is no specialized training or education you have to complete in order to be a process server.
What Can Process Servers Do?
As you can imagine, it is not always easy getting a summons or other types of legal notices into the hands of defendants. For many reasons, those who are being served papers are often reluctant to take the papers in question.
Because this is the case, process servers sometimes need to work creatively and diligently to serve the papers they have been tasked with serving. Some of the things they can do include:
- Wait outside your house or place of employment
- Follow you around a public place
- Leave the papers with another adult at your residence
- Mail the papers to you
In-person service is by far the preferred method because it guarantees that the job is complete. However, if after a few attempts, a process server is unable to get the legal notices into the hands of the person being sued, there are other steps they can take such as the above-mentioned service-by-mail, or leaving the legal notice with another adult.
What Can’t a Process Server Do?
There are strict guidelines that govern what a process server cannot do in order to serve papers in person. For example:
- A process server cannot go through your mailbox or leave the papers in your mailbox
- Intimidate or harass you
- Impersonate law enforcement
If a process server tries any of the above methods, contact a lawyer immediately to see what legal actions, if any, you might be able to take against them.
Why You Should Take Papers
If a process server is trying to serve you with papers, you are best off accepting them. Some people think that if they refuse the papers and ignore their legal problems they will simply go away. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If someone is taking legal action against you, taking the papers as soon as possible is in your best interest because it will give you more time to find a lawyer and develop a defense and legal strategy. Also, as you can see from the other available methods of service, if you don’t take the papers in person, the process server can either mail them or leave them with a member of your household.
Finally, if you refuse to respond to the papers, the judge could issue a default judgment. This means that you have forgone the right to contest the issue in court and the plaintiff is granted their request by the judge. Essentially, you lose the case without giving yourself a chance to win.