As Americans, we all have the constitutional right to due process. As a part of that right, we are all supposed to be given proper notice if we need to appear in a court of law. As a result, courts use process servers to deliver papers, warrants, writs, or subpoenas to people. Process servers ensure that papers are delivered to the proper person in a reasonable time frame. They often deliver papers by hand, rather than by mail or email, to be sure that they’re been delivered to the right person.
So what does it take to be a process server? Historically, sheriffs, deputies, or other agents of the court typically served papers. Since there were no Internet or cell phones when the right to due process was first implemented, servers sometimes had to physically travel to other parts of the country in order to deliver documents.
However, that became a large burden on law enforcement, so U.S. laws changed to allow others to serve court papers. To become a process server now, there are a few requirements and steps, although they do vary from state to state.
In every state, process servers need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and no criminal history. They also can’t have any interest or affiliation in the case at hand. Because there are many laws and procedures process servers must follow, many complete state-specific training programs to help them prepare, though training isn’t necessarily a requirement.
A few states require a certification or license, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Process servers in those states must be licensed and registered in their state and county.
If you want to become a process server, contact your local clerk or court for the steps required in your state and county. From there, gaining experience with agencies, law firms, collection agencies, or specific jurisdictions can help bolster your career.