What Hours Can A Process Server Serve You In California?

August 17, 2023

Curious to learn what hours a process server can serve you in California?

A crucial part of achieving successful proof of service requires that papers are served during the legally permissible hours.

This article can be used as a complete guide for understanding what the legal serving hours are according to California law, and why they should be strictly followed to ensure successful proof of service.

The Role of A Process Server

The Role of A Process Server

Professional Process Servers ensure that an individual involved in a legal matter has been served with all the legal documentation pertaining to an upcoming legal proceeding concerning them. Process serving gives the person being served the chance to respond to claims, summons or complaints brought upon them and ensures a smooth process of service. A Process Server’s job is to deliver these legal papers to the person being served, while adhering to service laws and hours in California.

Permissible Process Serving Hours in California

Permissible Process Serving Hours in California

According to California Law, there are permissible hours for a process server to serve documents. This is generally between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm PST.

These hours are put in place so that service of process is carried out in a respectful manner that does not cause disruption to the person being served. Weekends and holidays are no exception, and a Process Server may serve a party with papers during the permissible hours.

Penalties for Violating Serving Hours

Penalties for Violating Serving Hours

If a Process Server has violated serving hours they could face disciplinary actions by the licensing authority, fines, and even possible criminal charges. The court may determine that the service of process was done improperly which would require the court documents to be served again.

When a party is served outside serving hours, the credibility of the service will be questionable, potentially delaying legal proceedings and costing the serving party more.

If you have been served outside the legal serving hours, you may want to speak with a Civil Litigation attorney to discuss your rights and the action steps to take to challenge the integrity of service.

Legal Requirements for Process Serving in California

Legal Requirements for Process Serving in California

The following laws govern the process to serve legal documents in California:

  1. A summons may be served on a person within the State of California.
  2. A summons may be served on a person outside of the State of California, but in the United States as determined by the county law or place the person is served.
  3. A summons may be served outside the United States as determined by the law of where the person is served, or as instructed by the foreign authority.
  4. A summons may be served by any authorized persons over the age of eighteen and not a party to the action/case.
  5. A summons may be served by personal delivery of a copy to the person being served. The date of personal service shall be filled out on the copy of the summons at the time of delivery.
  6. Alternative to personal service:

a.) A summons may be served by leaving a copy of it at the office of the person being served during office hours, with the person apparently in charge.

b.) A copy shall then be mailed by first class mail or postage prepaid to the person at the mailing address where the copy was left.

  1. If a copy of a summons cannot be personally delivered:

a.) It may be left at the person’s dwelling house, place of business, or usual mailing address other than a US postal service post office box.

b.) This is to be done in the presence of a competent member of the household, or person apparently in charge of their office, business, or usual mailing address.

c.) The person whom the copy is left with should be eighteen years or older and they need to be instructed on the contents of the delivery.

d.) Afterward, a copy should be mailed by first class mail or postage prepaid to the person being served at the place where the copy was left.

  1. Any person will be allowed access into a gated community for a reasonable period of time to conduct lawful service of process if they can present their driver’s license or other identification such as proof of current registration as a Process Server pursuant.
  2. A summons may be served to a person outside of state by sending a copy of the summons and complaint to the person served through first class mail or postage prepaid with a return receipt.
  3. A summons may be served on a corporation by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint during office hours with the person apparently in charge.

What A Process Server Can and Cannot Do

What A Process Server Can and Cannot Do

Process Server’s need to be aware of what they can and cannot do while serving legal documents. The following rules apply:

  1. No breaking and entering – If a Process Server cannot legally enter a locked property or building, they cannot trespass and must either leave and come back, or wait for a person to leave in order to serve them.
  2. No threatening or harassing a person – A Process Server cannot threaten or harass a person being served. They cannot force a person to open a door and allow them entry, or to accept the documents.
  3. Pretend to be law enforcement – It is illegal for a Process Server to pretend to be law enforcement in order to compel the person to allow them entry or accept the documents being served.
  4. Stakeout a person – While harassment and stalking are prohibited, a Process Server is allowed to stakeout a person by waiting outside of a home or business for the person to exit, or outside a family member or a friend’s home if they suspect the person is there.
  5. Cannot leave papers with a minor – A Process Server cannot leave legal papers with anyone under the age of eighteen.

Tips for Choosing a Professional Process Server

Having an experienced, registered Process Server on your side is critical to ensuring a smooth service of process. It is important to find a reputable professional with a proven history of compliance. Check their experience and verify their Professional Affiliations with memberships such as The National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS). This way you can guarantee that a Process Server is well established to fulfill process service accordingly. On Call Legal’s Process Servers are trustworthy and efficient, and are equipped with the necessary expertise to carry out excellent process service.

Summary

Part of performing a successful service includes adhering to the hours that are put in place for serving legal documents. The serve process needs to be thoroughly followed as anything done outside of the serving hours of between 6:00 am to 10:00 pm will be deemed as an improper service.

California’s Civil Procedure has strict laws governing process service and such service needs to be done properly by registered Process Servers who understand their job and the consequences of any failures in carrying it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times does a Process Server try to serve you in California?

A Process Server can try to serve you multiple times, at which point, substitute service is considered where legal documents are handed to a competent member of the household or at a person’s usual place of business with the person apparently in charge.

Can a Process Server serve you on Sunday in California?

Yes, a Process Server may serve you during the permissible service hours on Sunday.

On-demand legal services with arranging services from eFiling to organizing and preparing your subpoena for records and/or personal appearance and much more.

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Proud member of the California Association of Legal Support Professionals (CALSPro), National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS) and Serve-Now Network of Process Servers

National Association of Professional Process Servers   California Association of Legal Support Pros   Local Process Servers


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