Service of process or process serving is a key part of what is known as the Due Process of Law. If any actions are taken against someone in a court of law, he or she must be notified of the fact under U.S. law. Process service is the way that he or she is notified. A professional known as a process server will find this person and hand deliver court documents to them so that they are fully informed. Depending on the court case one is involved in, a process server may deliver subpoenas, summons, complaints, order to show cause, or writs.
It is important to remember that each state has different laws governing service of process. One common law among most states is that a process server, any adult over the age of eighteen years old, that is not a party to the case, or a member of a corporation or organization that is a party, may serve the papers.
Like all process servers, a Maryland, Virginia, or D.C. process server will provide an Affidavit of Service to the individual for whom they are working. This notarized document provides proof that the defendants or other parties involved in the court case were served with the legal documents. In order to guarantee that legal documents are delivered in a timely manner and according to the law of the state or district, the services of a Maryland, Virginia, or D.C. process server should be considered.
Washington, D.C. and Maryland do not require process servers to be licensed. Lobbyists are active in the state of Maryland and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change on a regular basis.
In Maryland, process may be served on a Sunday or holiday, except that a Writ of Distraint or for eviction or possession shall not be served on Sunday. In Virginia, no civil process shall be served on Sunday, except in cases of persons escaping out of custody, or where it is otherwise expressly provided for by law.
In Maryland, a private process server must provide the Court with the following:
- Printed name of private process server
- Mailing address of private process server
- Telephone number of private process server
If the private process server name is unreadable, service will be considered unacceptable.
In Virginia, unless otherwise directed by the court, the person serving process shall make return to the clerk’s office within 72 hours of service, except when the return would be due on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.