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How to Tell if a Process Server is Legitimate

Using a credible process server in Florida isn’t just recommended…it’s the law. Only servers certified and approved by the appropriate judicial circuit may serve legal process in the state. If you use an illegitimate process server, any service provided will be invalid and your case might even get thrown out. Make sure you hire a reputable process server that has all the following qualities:

Certification or Appointment

All private process servers in Florida must be certified and approved by the judicial circuit in which they intend to work or appointed by the county sheriff. Florida has 20 judicial circuits, with most containing multiple counties. Nine counties use sheriff-appointed process servers only. Further complicating matters, 14 Florida counties have no formal process server program in place and servers must be appointed by a judge for each individual service. Regardless of how the process server is approved to serve, the requirements are similar in all counties:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have no mental disability
  • Have no involvement in the case
  • Be a permanent Florida resident
  • Have a clean background and criminal history
  • Possess a Certificate of Good Conduct filed with the court or sheriff’s office
  • Passage of a training course and exam
  • Posting a $5,000 surety bond
  • Letters of recommendation

Certification or appointment in one judicial circuit or county in Florida does not transfer to other areas. Check online or contact the local sheriff’s department for your circuit or county’s official approved server list if you are unsure of a process server’s status.


Legit process servers are very knowledgeable about laws and current trends related to process serving in their location. In Sarasota County, private process servers must pass an examination on process server laws before being granted certification. Red flags that you’re dealing with a process server that doesn’t know the laws include:

  • They attempt to serve on Sunday
  • They wear a disguise while serving process
  • They lie about their identity
  • They give process recipients advice about their cases
  • They threaten or try to intimidate process recipients
  • They engage in illegal activities while serving, such as breaking and entering

Steer clear of any private process server that doesn’t demonstrate a clear understanding of all the rules and laws, or you risk giving the defendant in your case grounds for suppression of evidence or even dismissal.


There are nuances in process serving that only hands-on experience can teach. Always ask about experience and professional references before hiring a process server or service agency. Move on to the next option if the server can’t produce proof of experience or their references don’t check out.

Accurate Serve has been helping attorneys and their firms with valid process service in the state of Florida since 2009. Our local servers are certified and approved to serve process in Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit, including Sarasota, DeSoto, and Manatee counties. Check out our reviews at and see why we’re considered one of Sarasota and Bradenton’s most legitimate and highly regarded process service agencies. If you are located outside of the 12th circuit, visit to find your local office.