Process Serving rules vary from state to state and it is important to know what is considered “good service.” In the state of Maryland, serving court documents can generally be accomplished in one of the following ways: Deputy Sheriff; Private Process Server; a citizen over 18 years old who is not a party to the case; or via Certified Mail with Restricted Delivery. If the party being served is willing to accept service, then Certified Mail may be the easiest and most affordable method. However, there are a plethora of reasons the Certified Mail method will not be an effective or reliable option; therefore, hand-delivered personal service will likely be ideal.
A summons, along with the supporting documents, can be served on an individual personally or the documents can be left with another resident of suitable age and discretion. The server will need to obtain the name of the person they are leaving the documents with as well as their relationship to the person. A thorough physical description of that person will need to be noted by the server on an affidavit that is filed with the appropriate court after service is complete. Other types of service documents, such as a Subpoena or a Show Cause Order, have stricter guidelines that require the person named on the document to be personally served. With that said, substituted service on an authorized agent may be necessary and acceptable to the court in certain circumstances.
A common myth or incorrect belief is that service isn’t effective unless the papers were personally handed to the individual or that someone can refuse service. In actuality, an individual doesn’t have to personally touch or accept the documents being served on them. If the individual being served refuses to take the papers, the server can drop them at the individual’s feet or leave the papers at the door. This is still considered good service and more information on that topic can be read in the article covering Evasion of Service.
All MD Code and Court Rules are available online at https://govt.westlaw.com/mdc/Index?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default). A more specific breakdown of the Circuit Court service procedures starts at Rule 2-121. Rule 2-124 describes the Person to be Served for the various types of entities such as an Individual with a Disability, Corporation, General Partnership, LLC, etc. Similarly, the same is stated as it relates to District Court starting at Rule 3-121. Rule 2-125 and 3-125 cover Service on Sundays and Holidays. Essentially, holidays are fair game for service and the only types of documents that can’t be served on a Sunday in the state of MD is a Writ of Distraint or for Eviction or Possession.
Servers with Old Line Investigative Services are fast, savvy, and experienced. Contact us today regarding your process serving needs.