The service of process exists in the U.S. to safeguard people’s rights to due legal process. If someone is being sued or is ordered to appear in court, they have the right to be informed about the process. Now we all know that no legal process can begin until Oklahoma Judicial Process Servers verify that they particularly served the required legal document to the concerned party.
Process Servers Are Not Always Welcomed
Admit it: no one is ever looking forward to meeting a process server in Oklahoma City, particularly when they have court paperwork, they must deliver to you. These documents always mean bad news for the defendants, as they can include anything from court subpoenas eviction notices to divorce papers. Most of the time, these deliveries occur when people face desperate circumstances. In essence, process servers are forced to become the bringer of bad news. They can stay safe only because of the philosophy of “Don’t shoot the messenger,” which seems relevant in their field of work.
However, that is also not always the case, as these legal workers often find themselves on the receiving end of a serving party’s anger and frustrations.
Thus, the presence of a process server is mandatory in such situations and the chances of the legal worker running into all sorts of trouble caused by a disgruntled or dangerous client.
Risky Situations That OKC Process Servers Can Encounter
A great risk and concern for process servers is the use of weapons against them. They are often considered trespassers by the residents. Also, serving parties with malicious intent would use weapons to threaten servers or even shoot at them in the worst-case scenario.
Cases have been reported throughout Oklahoma City where a process server was shot at with an airsoft gun while another server was held at gunpoint by the recipient.
Another significant danger factor is animals, especially when they are purposefully used to fulfill violent intent. As a result, most residences are guarded by a watchdog or, in most cases, by more than one dog.
These otherwise docile and harmless pets can be as big a threat to process servers as they are to mailmen or delivery workers. Even a cat can be trained to pounce on a visitor and scratch their face.
It happened to a process server in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where an angered recipient sent his bullmastiff dog to attack the server. As a result, his arm and leg were severely injured before he was rescued.
In addition to guns and trained animals, a process server can also end up facing just plain physical force. Process servers have been beaten and punched in the face. Some have also had their vehicles damaged by angry recipients. There have been cases that involved baseball bats, and at another time, a person repeatedly kicked the car of a process server, causing significant damage.
Considering this short collection of real-life examples of assaulted process servers, we can determine that it’s imperative for these legal workers to practice caution and take all necessary steps to stay safe and unharmed.
Steps to Ensure Process Server’s Safety and Well Being
There are a lot of servers that can be considered the daredevils of their occupation because they claim that being in a risky situation is part of the thrill.
“It’s a cat and mouse game,” said a veteran process server in Edmond, Oklahoma. “You just hope you’re the cat more than the mouse.”
It is not an understatement that process servers are the essential foot soldiers of the legal system. Almost every major court case demands some form of “service,” or even the delivery of documentation informing someone that a legal action has been initiated against him.
As such, it becomes imperative for process servers to anticipate any undesirable circumstances and be prepared regarding their personal safety to avoid any harm or damage. Similar to all other employees of the judicial and legal fraternity.
Following are some safety tips and suggestions for process servers to practice to remain safe in Oklahoma City:
- It is always wise to perform some background checking. Looking through some of the documents you’ll be serving can help you figure out what kind of person you’ll be dealing with. Be wary of charges of domestic and family violence or restraining orders.
- Don’t forget to inquire about the individual you’ll be serving from the attorney. Knowing about the person’s drug or alcohol use, previous offenses, and whether or not they expect to be served. All such information can offer you a heads-up on the scenario.
- If you are constantly using a vehicle, then you must park your vehicle as if you’ll need to flee quickly. Avoid parking in driveways or other areas where you can get stuck. Also, avoid narrow spaces or dead ends. If things get out of hand, you’ll want to be ready to evacuate as soon as possible. This way, you can keep yourself safe as well as avoid any damage to your vehicle.
- When you’re serving someone, they’ll ask you a lot of questions. Tell them you have not really looked at the papers and have “no additional information” to keep the conversation quick. Responding in this manner reduces the likelihood of their blaming you. Likewise, this allows you to just deliver and depart soon.
- Apartments can be observed from the outside, yet anything and anyone could be within. Stay outside and back away from the door after knocking to appear less intimidating. If you are offered to step inside, decline respectfully.
- Always be courteous to the party you’re serving when conversing and interacting with them, but also always be mindful and alert to keep yourself safe at all times.
- Dogs bite people on a daily basis. Don’t be one of them, particularly if you process serves for a living. If there is a sign that says “Beware the Dog,” take it seriously. If there isn’t a sign, search for other less obvious signs that a dog is on the premises. The barking of a dog, a dog house, and a leash are examples of such objects.
- Your instincts can actually be helpful, especially if they alert you that you’re about to enter a dangerous scenario.
Allow your instincts to lead you to avoid getting into a volatile situation. Turn around and quit if you are about to enter a place that makes you pause before entering. Take that as a sign that you shouldn’t be there. If you have absolutely no choice but to go in, make sure you have your cell phone with 911 on the dial screen for a quick call.
The Do’s and Don’ts of a Process Service
What a Process Server Should Not Do Ever:
- A process server cannot harass or threaten the defendant or a serving party in order to serve them with the court orders.
- Any forced entry or trespassing is illegal for a process server. As long as the process server enters a residence, company or premises that was already unlocked, they are within their rights to do so.
- A process server can also never impersonate the police or any other court authority. They may come up with and try other unique delivery methods, such as food delivery or any other style of normal delivery.
- It is against the law for process servers to leave legal documents with someone under the age of 18. However, If the defendant is not available for serving, you may leave the paperwork with an adult who knows the defendant directly.
A Process Server Is Allowed to Do the Following:
- As a process server, you have the right to stake out at the defendant’s address to determine the best possible time to serve them.
- A process server can also use uncommon delivery methods, including props, in order to come face to face with evasive or hard-to-find clients.
Process serving is no joke. This profession can be incredibly rewarding but also dangerous in many circumstances. Therefore, a process server needs to stay alert and be mindful of personal security at all times.