Harassment, Trespass and Our Responsibility
Posted September 12, 2011 in General
Harassment and Trespass
As process servers, we are considered public servants. Our duty to serve court papers, allows us certain rights and responsibilities.
In regards to Trespass:
- We have a right to approach a residence. That “right” ends the moment a resident tells us to leave their property
- This right to approach a residence does not extend to rural properties where “No Trespassing” signs are displayed
- We do not have the right to touch, rifle through, nor peer into mailboxes
- We do not have the right to open doors
- We do not have the right to transgress along the sides of a home or into the backyard
- We do not have the right to peek through windows
An Affirmative Defense exists should a process server be charged with trespass. The affirmative defense becomes void if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reason doubt trespassing occurred and they disprove the process server’s use of the affirmative defense to include not leaving the property when told.
In regards to Harassment
The charge of harassment is loosely defined and tickets are issued out at the officer’s discretion.
To guard against a charge of harassment process servers should not;
- Become annoying to the occupants of a residence, i.e. knocking on the door for an extended length of time, or verbally antagonizing a person to bate them into calling the police
- Attempting service at abnormal hours
- Blocking a driveway or vehicle
Harassment is subjective and can become an issue of who the judge believes more.
As a professional process server our responsibilities are many. Our conduct in the performance of our duties is paramount. We are not a party to the case and should not take sides. Our responsibility is to effect service of process according to the rules, in a timely and safe manner.