legal subpoena

There is more than one way to have a subpoena delivered. You can hire a process server, hire a private investigator for serving subpoenas or serve the papers yourself. A typical process server will save you the time of doing it yourself, but if there are no foreseeable problems, you may be able to do the work yourself and save money. If you decide to serve a subpoena yourself, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of success.

Serving a Subpoena at a Residence

You need to make sure that a person actually lives at the address you have on file for them. It is important that you create a situation where you have a good chance of success the first time you serve the papers. The reason for this is that you do not want to alert the person that someone is attempting to serve them court papers by arriving at the wrong apartment or house. Although there are people who will try and hide from you from the beginning, there are others who will not evade you unless they get a heads up. If you can serve this type of person the first time, without warning, you will have a good chance of success. Make sure you have their current address, then you can attempt to serve the subpoena.

Serving a Subpoena at a Place of Work

Often it is better to serve court papers to someone at work because there is a better chance of them being at work than at home. You should first confirm where they work and what their hours are before you attempt to serve the papers. A call to the human resources department will verify employment, and it is usually easy to verify a person’s work hours as well. The key to delivering a subpoena to a workplace is to do it right as they arrive at work or right as they leave. You want to avoid attempting to serve someone during working hours because many companies do not want their employees bothered when they are working, and you may only succeed in tipping off the person you are trying to serve.

Check for the Person’s Vehicle

Knowing what car or truck a person drives can be important information. Before you attempt to serve a person at work or at their home, it may be possible to identify their car and know for certain where they are. This is often more applicable to a residence than a workplace, but you can often spot a car at someone’s place of employment quite easily. If you see the car, you know they are likely there. If you are told the person you are looking for is not home, but you see their car, then they are likely evading the summons.

The above tips are predicated on serving papers to someone who is not evading a summons. If the person of interest is actively avoiding being served, you need to take additional steps. The skills needed at this point go beyond what an average person has, and this holds true for a typical process server. If you find yourself in an impossible situation, it’s time to hire a private investigator who has the knowledge, skill and experience in serving subpoenas.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.