Trespassing of Process Servers

Trespassing of Process Servers

Process servers are prohibited from trespassing on private property to serve process in nearly every state in the United States. Such incursions, no matter how innocuous, are considered not only invalid, but also illegal, and offenders may face penalties. Gated communities and apartment buildings have made it difficult for process servers to enter them; however, most are required to allow process servers access. However, where the process server is directly employed by a law enforcement agency, such as the U.S. Marshals Service, a county sheriff’s department, or another law enforcement agency with responsibility to serve documents, this fact may be overcome.

“Registered Process Servers” in California are granted “…a limited exemption against trespassing in gated communities.” This enables servers to enter a private property for a reasonable period of time in order to attempt process service. Gated communities in California that are “…staffed by a security guard or where access is controlled must allow a Registered Process Server to enter for service of process upon presenting valid identification and indicating to which address the process server is going.” This does not stop the security guard from contacting the resident and informing them that a process server is on his way to their home.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person may enter a gated community… for the purpose of performing lawful service of process, upon identifying to the guard the person or persons to be served and displaying a current driver’s license or other identification, and one of the following:

(1) a badge [for sheriffs and marshals]

(2) proof of current process server registration…

(b)This section applies only to a gated community that is staffed by a guard or other… personnel assigned to control access at the time service of process is attempted…it does not apply to a private residence that has posted no trespassing signs.



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