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Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

Does a process server have to be licensed in Florida?
Process servers in Florida must be appointed by a Sheriff with some exceptions. The requirements and exceptions are listed under the 48.021 Process; by whom served, 48.27 Certified process servers and 48.29 Certification of process servers headings of this page. Visit ServeNow.com's Become a Process Server page for more resources on how to get started in the process of service.

Florida Service of Process Laws Note
Resisting a person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process with violence is a 3rd degree felony in the State of Florida. Resisting without violence is considered a 1st degree misdomeaner. [2000 Florida Statutes: Title XLVI - Crimes. Chapter 843 Obstructing Justice: 843.01 and 843.02]

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Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 1.070. Process

Service; Numerous Defendants. If there is more than 1 defendant, the clerk or judge shall issue as many writs of process against the several defendants as may be directed by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney.

Rule 1.410. Subpoena

Florida Statutes

Title VI – Civil Practice and Procedure

48.021 Process; by whom served.

48.031 Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas.

  1. (a) Service of original process is made by delivering a copy of it to the person to be served with a copy of the complaint, petition, or other initial pleading or paper or by leaving the copies at his or her usual place of abode with any person residing therein who is 15 years of age or older and informing the person of their contents. Minors who are or have been married shall be served as provided in this section.
    (b) Employers, when contacted by an individual authorized to make service of process, shall permit the authorized individual to make service on employees in a private area designated by the employer.
  2. (a) Substitute service may be made on the spouse of the person to be served at any place in the county, if the cause of action is not an adversary proceeding between the spouse and the person to be served, if the spouse requests such service, and if the spouse and person to be served are residing together in the same dwelling.
    (b)Substitute service may be made on an individual doing business as a sole proprietorship at his or her place of business, during regular business hours, by serving the manager of the business if one or more attempts to serve the owner have been made at the place of business.
  3. The service of process of witness subpoenas, whether in criminal cases or civil actions, is to be made as provided in subsection (1). However, service of a subpoena on a witness in a criminal traffic case, a misdemeanor case, or a second degree or third degree felony may be made by certified United States mail directed to the witness at the last known address, and such service must be mailed at least 7 days prior to the date of the witness’s required appearance.
  4. (a) Service of a criminal witness subpoena upon a law enforcement officer or upon any federal, state, or municipal employee called to testify in an official capacity in a criminal case may be made as provided in subsection (1) or by delivery to a designated supervisory or administrative employee at the witness’s place of employment if the agency head or highest ranking official at the witness’s place of employment has designated such employee to accept such service. However, no such designated employee is required to accept service: 1. For a witness who is no longer employed by the agency at that place of employment; 2. If the witness is not scheduled to work prior to the date the witness is required to appear; or 3. If the appearance date is less than 5 days from the date of service. The agency head or highest ranking official at the witness’s place of employment may determine the days of the week and the hours that service may be made at the witness’s place of employment.
    (b)Service may also be made in accordance with subsection (3) provided that the person who requests the issuance of the criminal witness subpoena shall be responsible for mailing the subpoena in accordance with that subsection and for making the proper return of service to the court. History. – s. 5, Nov. 23, 1828; RS 1015; GS 1402; RGS 2599; CGL 4246; s. 6, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 75-34; s. 3, ch. 79-396; s. 3, ch. 82-118; s. 1, ch. 84-339; s. 7, ch. 85-80; s. 2, ch. 87-405; s. 6, ch. 93-208; s. 269, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 95-172; s. 1, ch. 98-410. Note. – Former s. 47.13.
  5. A person serving process shall place on the copy served, the date and time of service and his or her identification number and initials for all service of process.
  6. If only the adress for a person to be served, which is discoverable through public records, is a private mailbox, substitute service may be made by leaving a copy of the proces with the person in charge of the private mailbox, but oly if the process server determines that the person to be served maintains a mailbox at that location.

48.041 Service on minor.

48.042 Service on incompetent.

48.051 Service on state prisoners.

Process against a state prisoner shall be served on the prisoner. History. – s. 30, ch. 3883, 1889; RS 3043; GS 4124; RGS 6243; CGL 8580; s. 1, ch. 21992, 1943; s. 1, ch. 25041, 1949; s. 44, ch. 57-121; s. 4, ch. 67-254; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 71-355. Note. – Former s. 47.26.

48.061 Service on partnerships and limited partnerships.

48.071 Service on agents of nonresidents doing business in the state.

When any natural person or partnership not residing or having a principal place of business in this state engages in business in this state, process may be served on the person who is in charge of any business in which the defendant is engaged within this state at the time of service, including agents soliciting orders for goods, wares, merchandise or services. Any process so served is as valid as if served personally on the nonresident person or partnership engaging in business in this state in any action against the person or partnership arising out of such business. A copy of such process with a notice of service on the person in charge of such business shall be sent forthwith to the nonresident person or partnership by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. An affidavit of compliance with this section shall be filed before the return day or within such further time as the court may allow. History. – s. 1, ch. 59-280; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 273, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.161.

48.081 Service on corporation.—

48.101 Service on dissolved corporations.

When any natural person or partnership not residing or having a principal place of business in this state engages in business in this state, process may be served on the person who is in charge of any business in which the defendant is engaged within this state at the time of service, including agents soliciting orders for goods, wares, merchandise or services. Any process so served is as valid as if served personally on the nonresident person or partnership engaging in business in this state in any action against the person or partnership arising out of such business. A copy of such process with a notice of service on the person in charge of such business shall be sent forthwith to the nonresident person or partnership by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. An affidavit of compliance with this section shall be filed before the return day or within such further time as the court may allow. History. – s. 1, ch. 59-280; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 273, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.161.

48.111 Service on public agencies and officers.

48.121 Service on the state.

When the state has consented to be sued, process against the state shall be served on the state attorney or an assistant state attorney for the judicial circuit within which the action is brought and by sending two copies of the process by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General. The state may serve motions or pleadings within 40 days after service is made. History. – s. 2, ch. 29724, 1955; s. 4, ch. 67-254. Note. – Former s. 69.18.

48.131 Service on alien property custodian.

In every action or proceeding in any court or before any administrative board involving real, personal, or mixed property, or any interest therein, when service of process or notice is required or directed to be made upon any person, firm or corporation located, or believed to be located, within any country or territory in the possession of or under the control of any country between which and the United States a state of war exists, in addition to the giving of the notice or service of process, a copy of the notice or process shall be sent by registered or certified mail to the alien property custodian, addressed to him or her at Washington, District of Columbia; but failure to mail a copy of the notice or process to the alien property custodian does not invalidate the action or proceeding. History. – s. 1, ch. 22074, 1943; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 275, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.51.

48.141 Service on labor unions.

Process against labor organizations shall be served on the president or other officer, business agent, manager or person in charge of the business of such labor organization. History. – s. 4, ch. 67-254.

48.151 Service on statutory agents for certain persons.

48.161 Method of substituted service on nonresident.

48.171 Service on nonresident motor vehicle owners, etc.

History. – s. 1, ch. 17254, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4274(7); ss. 1, 2, ch. 25003, 1949; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 278, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.29.

p#(48181serviceonnonresidentengaginginbusinessinstate). 48.181 Service on nonresident engaging in business in state.

48.183 Service of process in action for possession of premises.

48.19 Service on nonresidents operating aircraft or watercraft in the state.

The operation, navigation, or maintenance by a nonresident of an aircraft or a boat, ship, barge, or other watercraft in the state, either in person or through others, and the acceptance thereby by the nonresident of the protection of the laws of this state for the aircraft or watercraft, or the operation, navigation, or maintenance by a nonresident of an aircraft or a boat, ship, barge, or other watercraft in the state, either in person or through others, other than under the laws of the state, or any person who is a resident of the state and who subsequently becomes a nonresident or conceals his or her whereabouts, constitutes an appointment by the nonresident of the Secretary of State as the agent of the nonresident or concealed person on whom all process may be served in any action or proceeding against the nonresident or concealed person growing out of any accident or collision in which the nonresident or concealed person may be involved while, either in person or through others, operating, navigating, or maintaining an aircraft or a boat, ship, barge, or other watercraft in the state. The acceptance by operation, navigation, or maintenance in the state of the aircraft or watercraft is signification of the nonresident’s or concealed person’s agreement that process against him or her so served shall be of the same effect as if served on him or her personally. History. – s. 1, ch. 59-148; s. 1, ch. 65-118; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 2, ch. 70-90; s. 280, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.162.

48.193 Acts subjecting person to jurisdiction of courts of state.

48.194 Personal service outside state.

Case Notes:

48.195 Service of foreign process.

48.196 Service of process in connection with actions under the Florida International Arbitration Act.

48.20 Service of process on Sunday.

Service or execution on Sunday of any writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment is void and the person serving or executing, or causing it to be served or executed, is liable to the party aggrieved for damages for so doing as if he or she had done it without any process, writ, warrant, order, or judgment. If affidavit is made by the person requesting service or execution that he or she has good reason to believe that any person liable to have any such writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment served on him or her intends to escape from this state under protection of Sunday, any officer furnished with an order authorizing service or execution by the judge or magistrate of any incorporated town may serve or execute such writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment on Sunday, and it is as valid as if it had been done on any other day. History. – s. 44, Nov. 23, 1828; RS 1025; GS 1413; RGS 2611; CGL 4275; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 12, ch. 73-334; s. 283, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.46.

Case Note: A summons is “process” within meaning of statute providing that civil process cannot be served on Sunday. Miller v. Johnson, 466 So.2d 340 (1985).

48.21 Return of execution of process.

All officers to whom process is directed shall note on it, or on a return-of-service form attached thereto, the time when it comes to hand, the time when it is executed, the manner of execution, the name of the person on whom it was executed and if such person is served in a representative capacity, the position occupied by the person. A failure to state the foregoing facts invalidates the service, but the return is amendable to state the truth at any time on application to the court from which the process issued. On amendment, service is as effective as if the return had originally stated the omitted facts. A failure to state all the facts in the return shall subject the officer so failing to a fine not exceeding $10, in the court’s discretion. History. – s. 18, Nov. 23, 1828; RS 1026; GS 1414; RGS 2612; CGL 4276; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 4, ch. 94-170; s. 1356, ch. 95-147. Note. – Former s. 47.47.

48.22 Cumulative to other laws.

All provisions of this chapter are cumulative to other provisions of law or rules of court about service of process, and all other provisions about service of process are cumulative to this chapter.

History. – s. 9, ch. 11829, 1927; CGL 4265; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 4, ch. 67-254. Note. – Former ss. 47.33, 47.44.

48.27 Certified process servers.

48.29 Certification of process servers.

48.31 Removal of certified process servers; false return of service.