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Can a process server enter a gated community to serve papers to a defendant without this being considered trespassing?

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Can a process server enter a gated community to serve papers to a defendant without this being considered trespassing?

If so, how would a process server serve papers if he/she can't get access to the community?

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Filed under: Criminal trespass
Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

It wouldn't be trespassing, but the process server can't serve someone if that process server can't get to them.

Of course, if the person couldn't be served by the process server, the result would be that the plaintiff or petitioner would just serve by publication.

The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice (I'm a pretty friendly guy), and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you'd like actual legal advice, call me for a free consultation at 813-635-0222. Also, if you liked this answer as much as my big ego thinks you did, be sure to click the thumbs-up button!

Asker

Posted

What publication would that be in ? If a person doesn't read that publication how will he /she know if they have been served ?

Asker

Posted

Can a person be served be certified / registered mail ?

Brent Allan Rose

Brent Allan Rose

Posted

The publication would be a local major newspaper or legal publication, and no one reads that section, so they never know they've been served. That's why people should be available to process servers. You can't serve process in Florida state court lawsuit by mail, but you can in some federal lawsuits and some lawsuits in other states.

Asker

Posted

ok! so you are saying a process server can enter a private gated community to serve papers !

Asker

Posted

So, you are saying that it can be done by publication and the person would never know about it and a judgement would be made by default without giving the person a chance to defend themselves ?

Brent Allan Rose

Brent Allan Rose

Posted

I'm saying a private process server can go anywhere a private citizen can go. If someone lets the process server through the gate, it's not trespassing. I live in a private gated community, and I think some days more people who don't live in my neighborhood than are let in than do live in my neighborhood.

Asker

Posted

So, they will have access and come to the door and serve papers. If the person being served is not home at the time, Do they just leave it at the door ? Can they give it to a family member ?

Brent Allan Rose

Brent Allan Rose

Posted

Yes to your question about service. By publication without the person knowing. If the person is not home, they can give the papers to a family member who is 15 or older. For most lawsuits, they can't just leave the papers at the door. Sometimes, process servers and deputies leave a card if no one is home.

Asker

Posted

Ok! Well by way of servers leaving a card by the door , at least they give you a fair chance of letting you know they are trying to serve you and would mean they will be back to physically serve the papers ? Right ? Also, what are the chances they would serve by publication ? Doesn't seem like a fair way to serve someone ! Can the judgement be reversed by a judge if they didn't see the publication ? Thanks

Brent Allan Rose

Brent Allan Rose

Posted

They usually come back. If they leave a card, call and give them a time to come back. If a person isn't served, there is almost a 100% chance of service by publication, which a judge will sometimes set aside, but in the meantime, bad things like garnishments can happen.

Asker

Posted

ok! Thanks for responding ! This was very helpful !

Posted

I am a California lawyer, but a process server can employ different methods to enter the gated community, such as waiting until someone causes the gate to open and then entering the community.

Once inside the gate, he/she can serve the defendant. If the defendant is not in the house, the process server may be able to leave the papers with another adult in the house.

If the defendant cannot be served after diligent attempts, the process server may be able to employ alternative service methods.

The above describes permissible methods of service in California. Florida may have similar or different methods of service that are permissible. Consult a Florida lawyer.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

I heard a process server leaving the Summons at the Gate with the Community Guard and the Process server considered this a sgood service. Does this make sense? Or being legal service? Under which code?

Posted

Yes, they can enter a gated community; no, it will not be trespassing, and trust me, they find many ways to gain access to places in order to serve people.

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Asker

Posted

ok I just wanted to make sure in case it does happen ! thanks

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