How to Hide From a Process Server

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If you find yourself involved in an aggravating legal situation, one way to buy time is to avoid the process server. A certified process server who usually works for the sheriff's department will be sent by the court to hand you in person a summons to appear in court. Your challenge will be to avoid him/her.

Know the law. In most states there are specific days when a person cannot legally be contacted by a process server. Those days are Sundays, official state holidays and Election Day. In New York, process cannot be served on a Saturday to a person who keeps Saturday as holy time. Use this to your advantage.

Stay close to home. If you fear that legal service may be imminent, skip all those unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Process servers are not allowed to trespass on private property to hand you a summons.

Be creative. A process server is allowed to contact you in any public place. Since the court probably has your home and work address, it makes sense to vary your routine when coming and going to these places. Don't visit that coffee shop near your office. Now might be a good time to work from home, if that's possible. Or use this time to visit friends out of town.

Change your appearance. Private investigators are also authorized to serve you with legal papers. Be especially alert if you have one of those on your trail.

Call your lawyer. The summons can be received by your lawyer instead of you. If you are a person who will feel embarrassed (or angry) to get served in public, letting someone else deal with it is an option.

Warnings

  • A process server does not have to actually put the summons in your hand to serve you. They are allowed to place the papers at your feet or directly near you if you refuse to receive the papers in your hand. Under those circumstances you've been served.

Tips

  • If you successfully evade the process server, the court will not give up. The summons can be mailed to you after a certain period of time. Also, if you miss the court date, you can automatically lose the case and have a judgment against you.

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