Home  > For Small Business  > Litigation  > Civil Procedure  > Process  > Florida Statutes 48.031 - Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas 
Search the Florida Statutes

Florida Statutes 48.031 - Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas

Florida Statutes > Chapter 48 > 48.031

Current as of: 2012
   (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 person in charge of the business at the time of service if two or more attempts to serve the owner have been made at the place of business.
   (3)(a) The service of process of witness subpoenas, whether in criminal cases or civil actions, shall 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 United States mail directed to the witness at the last known address, and the service must be mailed at least 7 days prior to the date of the witness's required appearance. Failure of a witness to appear in response to a subpoena served by United States mail that is not certified may not be grounds for finding the witness in contempt of court.
   (b) A criminal witness subpoena may be posted by a person authorized to serve process at the witness's residence if three attempts to serve the subpoena, made at different times of the day or night on different dates, have failed. The subpoena must be posted at least 5 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.
   (5) A person serving process shall place, on the first page of at least one of the processes served, the date and time of service and his or her identification number and initials for all service of process. The person serving process shall list on the return-of-service form all initial pleadings delivered and served along with the process. The person issuing the process shall file the return-of-service form with the court.
   (6) If the only address 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 process with the person in charge of the private mailbox, but only if the process server determines that the person to be served maintains a mailbox at that location.
   (7) A gated residential community, including a condominium association or a cooperative, shall grant unannounced entry into the community, including its common areas and common elements, to a person who is attempting to serve process on a defendant or witness who resides within or is known to be within the community.
Florida Statutes 48.021 - Process; by whom servedChapter 48 Table of ContentsFlorida Statutes 48.041 - Service on minor


Questions & Answers: Process

How long must I publish a Notice of Action to Quiet Title?...
Legal Matters We are in desperate need of an attorney that handles civil litigation cases. Confirm if your firm handles matters like this and we would get back to you with more ...
Can a constable refuse or ignore a service of process because they hold an elected position in the city the are request to serve; and work for a congressional representative?...
Attempting service of a Summons & Complaint on an individual that will not open the door or acknowledge my presence and know through conversation with neighbors the party to be ser...

Florida Laws: Process

Florida Statutes > Chapter 48 - Process and Service of Process
Florida Statutes > Chapter 49 - Constructive Service of Process

U.S. Code Provisions: Process

U.S. Code Title 28 > Part V > Chapter 113 - Process
Comments (6)add comment
Paul McArthur: ...
I am business owner who has personal mailboxes. Since I know the mailbox holder has another address am I supposed to refuse accepting the summons based on 48-031 (6) above? If I do refuse based on this... what will happen to me?

October 04, 2012
Steven Daily: ...

You don't indicate whether the other address is "discoverable through public records" and that's important in terms of whether this is a valid type of service.

In any event, it is not up to you whether to "accept" service or not. If the requirements of (6) are met, the papers can simply be left with whoever is in charge of the private mailbox, whether they like it or not. If you don't take them into your hands, the process server will sometimes just throw them at you, announce, "You have been served," and walk away.

Steve Daily

October 04, 2012
Jeff Britt: ...
My 17-year-old daughter was served as a defendant in a motor vehicle accident. I have been advised that 1) Minors cannot be served in civil cases and 2) Minors cannot be sued individually. PLease advise. Thanks, Jeff Britt

May 22, 2013
Robert Carroll: ...
City code enforcement stopped at my residence one day while i was at work. The code enforcement person came up my driveway towards my son who is 16 and was standing half way or better insde my garage. While approaching my garage opening my son repeatedly advise this person that he was a minor and they would have to talk with my father. The code enforcement person entered several feet inside my dwelling beyond the garage door uninvited. To throw a door hanger notice to comply at him. Where do i stand on the univited entry to my dwelling?

June 03, 2013
Steven Daily: ...
A person who is 17 can be served with process in a civl case as described in subsection 1(a) of section 48.031. They can also be sued individually.

This sounds to me like proper service because the papers were in fact delivered as required by statute section 48.031. The open door creates some ambiguity as to whether there may have been implied consent to enter, but in any event I think the sole remedy would be to try to press criminal trespass charges under the Florida Statutes. Even if successful, such trespass charges that would not invalidate the service of process.

Steve Daily

June 03, 2013
Jerry Miller: ...
Attempting service of a Summons & Complaint on an individual that will not open the door or acknowledge my presence and know through conversation with neighbors the party to be served resides there, what are my options?

April 04, 2014

Post a comment or question below.
smaller | bigger

Email  Email Print  Print   Digg

Peacock Myers, P.C.

201 Third Street NW, Suite 1340
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
Practice Areas: For Small Business, Intellectual Property
The Jaffe Law Firm
General Practice Law Firm

320 Gold Avenue SW, #1300
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
Practice Areas: Employment, Criminal Law, Family Law, For Small Business, Personal Injury
Wolf & Fox, P.C.
Full Service Law Firm

1200 Pennsylvania NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
Practice Areas: Family Law