Posts Tagged ‘serving court papers’
Getting a subpoena served in Orange County shouldn’t be a hard task. Below are some tips on helping you through the process. This information is provided as a guide and should not be interpreted as bona fide legal advice.
Once you file your lawsuit you will need to have your defendant(s) notified of your legal action against them. This is called “Service of Process“, it’s a necessary legal requirement you must follow in order to proceed with your case. Additionally, California CCP sec. 413.10-413.40 does not provide any limitations on the time or hours a subpoena may be served. Service of process may be executed at any time, day or night…rain or shine. Police warrants are another story, they often have certain limitation on how and when they may be served. This usually depends on the severity of the charge, and whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony warrant.
What is the definition of a Summons?
A summons is the formal notice of a lawsuit. It is delivered to the person who’s getting sued – the defendant. People being sued must be told they’re being sued, so they can defend themselves. Serving defendants with a summons is the official way of telling them they are being sued. If you follow the rules and give a summons to the other side, and they fail to go to court, you can automatically win the suit if you prove your case to the judge.
What is the definition of a Subpoena?
A subpoena is a court order requiring someone to show up to court and/or produce evidence in a court case. For instance, you may need a witness to appear in court, or you may need to review evidence documents that a specific entity holds in their possession. Both of these situations would require a subpoena. California CCP sec. 1992 and 1993 allows the Court authority to issue a warrant for the arrest of persons who disobey a court order to appear for a hearing. The court does not need to give the person any other follow-up notice in order to issue the arrest warrant.
These are the options you will have in getting your subpoena or summons served:
1) Have a deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department serve your subpoena.
2) Have a registered Process Server serve your subpoena.
3) Have a licensed Private Investigator serve your subpoena.
4) In some cases, you may have an adult 18 years or older who is not related to the lawsuit serve your subpoena.
Recommended Link: “Serving Court Papers” courtesy LA County Courts & CA DCA.
The fees for the sheriff’s department are standard and listed on their website at OCSD.org under the “civil section”. Fees for a registered process servers vary throughout the county (between $45.00 to $95.00 on average). I think the least expensive service I’ve seen was a small claims subpoena, priced around the $40 mark. There are many factors to look at other than price alone as I’ll describe below. But if you’re strictly looking for price, then upwards of $45.00 will be about the cheapest you’ll find.
I suggest opening up your favorite search engine or online Yellow Pages to find local process serving companies and start interviewing them. If you have an Orange County Superior Court small claims, unlawful detainer (eviction), or a civil limited/unlimited case that you would like to have served on someone immediately, call my office at (714) 248-5050 or visit my contact page here.
The “Good & Not-So Good ” breakdown of who you should choose
GOOD: You have an official who represents the county government serving your papers. The deputy will be in full uniform with a badge and gun serving your documents.
NOT-SO GOOD: The uniform, badge and gun can work against getting the subpoena effectively served. The party may be inside the residence and may not want to answer the door when they see the Sheriff’s department display their authority. NOTE: People who are known to be “evasive” will often do this.
GOOD: Having a deputy serve a small business is real good way to get your point across, especially when the owner is present. No small business owner wants to have their customers see a uniformed deputy entering their business premises for legal reasons.
NOT-SO GOOD: The Sheriff’s department will not personally invest themselves in your case. They’re a great department but they won’t go the extra mile. They will do the minimum allowed by law. Process Servers and Private Investigators may be more likely to work with your specific situation since they operate a business and usually rely on referrals and satisfied clients.
GOOD: You’re hiring a person or company that specializes in serving documents for a living. They live and breath subpoenas! These companies may or may not allow more than the minimum attempts. Some companies offer a guarantee of “Unlimited Attempts”. If you can find someone who will do unlimited attempts for the same price as the Sheriff’s department then your in good hands for a basic service of process on an individual or company.
NOT-SO GOOD: Process Servers may only handle routine subpoenas and may not have the necessary experience to execute an effective serve on an “evasive” person or firm. Not all Process Servers are equipped with proprietary database services that helps in finding assets, property information, business information, additional residence address history, etc.
GOOD: Most Private Investigators have access to proprietary databases used by both the government and the private sector. The help of a Private Investigator is usually saved for difficult and evasive serves (people who don’t want to be found or served). Private Investigators have a lot of tricks up their sleeves and many resources available to help in a tough situation. Some PIs have armed permits, allowing them to carry an exposed firearm.
NOT-SO GOOD: Private Investigators are usually expensive. Most charge around $50.00 to $95.00 per hour for surveillance on a specific person. If you can afford the cost and need the evasive person located or followed to where they reside then hiring a private investigator may be your best bet. Not all Private Investigators serve subpoenas.
Once you’ve decided on who to hire, ask these questions below:
1) How many “attempts” do you offer before I’m charged an additional fee?
2) How soon will you serve the opposing party? (Some may take up to 2 weeks, so ask)
3) Will the person serving my documents “wait around” for the defendant or will they just ring the door bell and leave?
4) Will you “file the proof” with the appropriate courthouse? If not, what is the additional charge?
5) Are you properly licensed and or registered to serve legal process?
If you decide to go with a private company then you should conduct a phone interview with the company serving your papers. If you don’t, you may be stuck with an added cost you weren’t prepared for. Getting an honest recommendation from a trusted friend or trusted attorney doesn’t hurt either.
About the Author:
Ryan Garrahy is a state licensed private investigator specializing in surveillance, background checks, locating individuals and workplace investigations. He is the owner & principal investigator for Orange Investigations.