In many cases, it is a private investigator’s job to find people, and they are tasked with this for a variety of reasons. However, what many people don’t realize is that private investigators are heavily utilized by lawyers and other court officials to get some trickier jobs done. Alongside surveillance, one of the most popular ways that a private investigator is utilized is as a process server.
Process serving is the act of serving people with official legal documents. Whether it is a court summons or other legal action, these documents need to be officially served to their recipient. In many states, these documents can’t just be mailed out, they need to be physically placed in the hands (or simply “touch the body”) of the recipient so that there is proof that they received them. This is what makes process serving so tricky.
If someone does not want to appear in court, they simply need to avoid getting served the papers. This could mean leaving town or simply not answering the door. This makes it difficult for those employed with serving these documents, so the cases can often be passed off to private investigators. When someone is trying to dodge legal documents, a private investigator can:
- Use surveillance to find and serve the person. Some states have laws that will not allow you to trespass to serve papers, thus they may need to wait until they leave the property.
- Use skip tracing to find a person that has left town or the country.
- Ensure the documents are served in a legal way. If not delivered in accordance with state law, which can differ from state to state, it can be thrown out and complicate the case in question.
- Provide evidence of papers served. If the person claims they never received them, as a professional, private investigators can show an affidavit of service as proof.
While many courts have a variety of people involved with process serving, they aren’t as skilled as private investigators. Typically, people don’t know how to dodge process serving very well, but when they do this makes private investigators useful in those tougher situations.