In the State of California anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the action
) can serve legal process as long as they don't get paid more than 10 times a year. So you might ask yourself, "Why should I use a Registered Process Server
(RPS)?" Here is a list of a few reasons you might want to use an RPS:
First, and most importantly...let's say the defendant doesn't show up to the hearing and you win a judgement. Now the case goes back to the "Default Clerk". The Default Clerk takes a look at the judgement and then tries to determine whether or not the defendant was properly notified. If you used a friend to serve the initial documents, the Default Clerk may reject the default and make you re-notify the defendant and start the process all over again. All that time and effort wasted. However, had you used an RPS, they have what is known as a "rebuttable presumption status"
(Evidence Code 647
). What that means is, there has to be something very wrong about the service before the Default Clerk can quash (dismiss or not allow) service. If an RPS signs the Proof of Service under Penalty of Perjury, that service is good as gold and your judgement will be awarded.
The next very important reason, is that should you Prevail or Win your case, everything that you paid the RPS (Service of Process Fees, Court Filing Fees, Skip Tracing Fees) can be recovered in the judgement as "Court Costs" (CCP 1033.5
). Provide the Judge with your documentation of what you paid the RPS and the Judge will add those costs in addition to the Judgement. If you pay a friend to do it, not only do you stand a chance of getting the Default Judgement quashed, but you also can't recover the amount you paid them (if you paid them).
There are 5 documents that can only be served by a Registered Process Server
), they are:
PREJUDGMENT CLAIM OF RIGHT TO POSSESSION (CCP 415.46
The reason that only an RPS can serve these documents, is because they all carry high consequences to the defendant. For instance, if the defendant does not show up for the hearing when served an Order to Appear for Examination, if the Order was served by an RPS, the Judge can issue a bench warrant for contempt of court on the defendant.
Now that I've convinced you that you should use an RPS, will just any RPS do? Well, let me tell you this. In the State of California anyone over the age of 18 who can pass a felony background check and has a spare $300 can become an RPS. Not one single test on knowledge of the law regarding service of process is given before he/she can legally serve documents. Isn't that scary to you? Giving proper notification is one of the most important parts of the legal process. Do you really want to entrust that procedure to someone who may not even understand what "due diligence" means, or maybe doesn't know the difference between a Summons and a Subpoena? I hope there was no hesitation when you answered an emphatic...NO!
In California there is an association for Registered Process Servers called the California Association for Legal Support Professionals or CALSPro. In order to become a CALSPro member you must be a RPS for at least 2 years. You also must have 2 letters of recommendation from attorneys who have been using you as a process server. CALSPro takes it one step further; they provide the industry's only Certification program called CALSPro Certified Process Server
or CCPS. In order to be designated as a CCPS you must complete the educational course requirements and pass a test that insures that you understand the laws regarding service of process. Many an RPS has taken the test and failed so it is not an entry level exam by any means. Roy G. Black, the owner of Temecula Attorney Service has been a CCPS for over 13 years. You can rest assured that we at Temecula Attorney Services Company fully understand what needs to be done for a legal service of process. Don't make the mistake of using an unknowledgeable
rookie: their price may be very attractive, but down the road when your notification gets quashed because the RPS didn't know what he was doing??? That might be a little tough to explain to the client.
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