Stupid process servers and fake bounty hunters did something I hope you would never consider doing as a legitimate process server or private investigator including a citizen’s arrest fail and kidnapping!
Let me share with you this real-world case study.
The facts of this case are 100% true, but please allow me to speculate for a minute on the back-story that led to this debacle.
I suspect it was a domestic case and probably these two stupid process servers were hired directly by the client in the case and not by a law firm.
Imagine a woman seeking a divorce and she has some friends (or friends of a friend) who say, “Yeah, we’ll serve that guy for you”. Next they’re appointed as process servers by the court because it is not that heavy of a burden to meet, right? And they go out to serve process on this guy.
Somewhere along the line, they discover this guy has some outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants and apparently, because they don’t know any better, they just think they can make a citizen’s arrest on this guy!
You cannot do that! Nowhere in the United Sates can you do that!
If you have any questions on making a citizen’s arrest, check out my book How to Make a Citizen’s Arrest. But know right now, you can’t just decide you’re going to pick-up somebody on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant!
So these two “process servers” detained this guy, restrained him, drive him down to the county jail, hit the buzzer and said, “Good news, we got this guy for you”.
It only takes the sheriff’s deputies moments to figure out this is completely wrong.
I honestly don’t know if they let the guy with the misdemeanor warrants go free. I kinda’ like to think they did. But they (100% for sure!) arrested both the “process servers” for kidnapping.
Your job as a Process Server
You can’t go picking up people with outstanding warrants as a process server. Your job as a process server is to deliver the court papers. That is it.
If you really want to draw out the process step-by-step, your job is to…
1. Pick up the court papers,
2. Deliver the court papers and
3. File the Return of Service with the court so they know you have delivered the papers.
How to avoid the slippery slope of process serving disaster.
So how do you avoid falling into a trap like this? Maybe you are a person like me and you’ve got nothing but good will. Your intentions are good. You’re just trying to help out the underdog. How do you avoiding making a mistake or “going too far”?
This is one area where free online videos can help you. Study them and learn what are the “industry standards”.
Learn what process servers do in the normal course of conducting business. Find out what private investigators are doing regularly. Security personnel, loss prevention officers, learn the standard practices in your industry. Then – if you find yourself tempted to step too far outside those norms – you need to really question yourself about what you’re doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe you have to set yourself apart from other process server companies or private detective agencies. And part of that may be understanding precisely where the legal line and the ethical line is and being willing to tip-toe right up to (but not over!) that line.
You may have great success in being able to get the job done when other companies (maybe bigger companies are a little more risk adverse companies) are reluctant.
That’s a big part of how I built my business.
I built my business by being able to do those extraordinary things that are legal and ethical.
Don’t miss this…
Don’t miss the fact that I did a lot of marketing too!
I tell you that all the time. You’ve got to send out letters, use social media or whatever’s appropriate to get the word out about your services and how you benefit your clients.
So while the marketing is important, you can also get clients by being willing to do the extraordinary things that are still perfectly legitimate to do.
In The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Process Serving, I have got a section on “Going Nuclear” and doing these extraordinary things to get a refuser served. I teach the almost television-like or movie types of things I’ve used. And if they’re legal in your area (and primarily, I’m talking here about using pretext or permissible deception to lure your subject out or to get the papers to them) then it’s allowed within your state and using those methods wisely and judiciously can set you apart in the market and give you success where other people fail.
There are a ton of professionals that cringe at those kinds of tricks because they worry about going over the line into the rogue semi-bounty hunter nonsense that I’ve just discussed. But, this is precisely why combining the free online resources and paid training from a professional whose been there and done that can be so valuable!
A Rule of Thumb
Watch out for people who are teaching theories or teaching things they’ve never done.
If they’ve never had skin in the game on something they’re trying to teach you, then that’s a real problem.
I understand people can read a book and cobble together a few PDFs into “lessons” about what theoretically works.
Heck, most of the time, they might be correct… maybe. Their “book report advice” may even be harmless – hopefully – but if they’re trying to teach you anything that’s in the extreme (and most effective!) realm of what we do or if they’re teaching how to have success when other people fail, then you’ve got to be really careful about who your teacher is.
A key piece of advice.
This piece of advice will serve you well: When you’re considering something that’s outside the “norms” of the more conservative people in our industry, take a moment and remember…
Do the right thing even if it is the hard thing.
Committed to your success,
Private Investigator (Ret.) &
#1 Best Selling Author
If you like these helpful tips and sources, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. If not, you can get it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.