Who Can Serve a Restraining Order?
Anybody can serve a restraining order as long as it is not the person who filed for it. If you filed for a restraining order you must get somebody other than yourself to serve it, period. Typically people either get two types of servers to serve the restraining order: the sheriff or a private server.
In every courthouse there is an office for the sheriff’s department. Just ask the clerk after you file for your restraining order and they will point you to where it is. There is usually a cost associated with having the sheriff serve the restraining order. However, if you are in immediate fear of harm or danger you can actually ask the court to waive the service fee so that you don’t have to pay the sheriff. Whether you have to pay or not, you have to take a copy to the sheriff’s department and you might have to fill out some additional paperwork there. Once you give them the copies they will take a couple of days to start the service. The sheriff’s department will usually notify you by mail once they do serve the defendant.
However, there are some disadvantages for having the sheriff serve your restraining order. A major disadvantage is that they they are going to be easily noticed and seen by neighbors of the defendant, thus allowing him to evade service. Think about it, if you saw sheriffs knocking on your neighbors door wouldn’t you let him know that they are after him? Sheriff’s don’t do a good job of hiding or waiting to see when the defendant will show up. At best they will ask you what time of the day is the best time to serve the defendant, but this is no guarantee.
This is by far the better option for those who want to make sure the defendant gets served. Private servers, who sometimes are also private investigators, will often stake out the location and hide so that they don’t get noticed. They will often try multiple times to serve the defendant not only at his house, but at his work or anywhere else he might be. Charges range for a private server, with the more skilled investigators charging more. However, it is worth it to pay the extra money to ensure that the defendant will get served.
This is a toss up. Do you really want to get your family members involved by serving the defendant? They will have to fill out a proof of service form and sign it under penalty of perjury. This means that if the defendant denies ever receiving the copies your family member will have to go to court and testify under oath that he or she did indeed serve the defendant. It’s sometimes best to leave this to the professionals.
Five Days in Advance
Restraining orders typically need to be served five court days before the hearing date. Court days are not your normal calendar days. For a court day calculator click here. You can request to have this requirement waived when you file for the restraining order. But if you don’t get this approved you will have to make sure the defendant is served five days before the hearing. I honestly would not rely on the sheriffs to meet this requirement. Go with a private server.
How can I help?
If you have any more question about divorce, child custody, restraining orders, or criminal defense please contact me for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-227-1176 and ask to speak with me. Connect with me on Google+.
The Law Offices of Levon Kevorkian is a boutique firm located in Pasadena, California handling Divorce, Child Custody, and Criminal Defense cases. Our office is located at 1055 E. Colorado Blvd. Fifth Floor, Pasadena CA 91106.
Disclaimer: This blog post and other blog posts by me are not meant to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be formed by these blog posts.