When preparing for a tough and potentially stressful court case, one important consideration is how to ensure court papers make it to the right party. With the complex laws of process serving, it is important to choose someone who can complete the task quickly, legally, and efficiently.
There are two options when choosing someone to serve court papers in California: a registered process server or a deputy sheriff. Selecting a deputy sheriff can be the easier route. But a recent survey of legal professionals suggests that professional process servers are preferable to their sheriff counterparts. The survey, conducted by the process server network ServeNow, polled 100 paralegals, legal assistants, and legal secretaries. 78% of those polled preferred process servers in a number of areas, including speed, knowledge of laws, and success rate.
Knowledge of Laws
The attention and duties of a sheriff are divided, but a registered process server focuses solely on the laws related to service of process. According to the poll, their practice and expertise make them far more efficient. 58% of legal professionals reported that professional process services are more knowledgeable than sheriffs in the complexities of the law.
Rate of Success
Even more impressive is the reported success rate of professional servers. Most Process Server work 6 to 7 days a week with 10-14 hour days including nights, holidays and weekends. Nine out of 10 poll participants ranked professional serves above sheriffs in effectiveness. Law professionals who hired a private process server found a 92% rate of success, while professionals who used a sheriff reported a success rate of 78%. According to Adam Camras from ServeNow, a low success rate can translate to costly delays in court proceedings or even a full case dismissal.
The only area in which sheriffs received a higher rank was in overall cost. The nationwide average fee for a process server is $53.99, while the average fee for a sheriff is $39.58. However, according to Camras, even the cost differential is negligible. The fee structure of a process server usually accounts for multiple attempts and other fees. The sheriff’s price does not include these additional fees or mileage costs.
A sheriff is the better option in some cases, such as when a defendant is a government entity or in jail during service, or if a reasonably priced process service is difficult to locate. But when it comes to reliability and expertise, a professional server might be worth the extra pay.
Contact Direct Legal Support, Inc. for more information about our registered process server services.