A subpoena server gives a court document to a person who is mandated to do some specific action by the court. There are several types of subpoenas. A subpoena to appear as a witness is one such type of subpoena; it requires the person to whom it is issued to come to court and speak to the court. A property subpoena may also be issued, which requires the person to turn over the given property for some reason, such as owing a debt on the property or the suspected use of the property in the commission of a crime. It is the job of a subpoena server to give these subpoenas to the individuals who are requested to appear in court or to turn over the property.
The subpoena server must issue the subpoena directly to the individual the court is requiring to do the action. He must obtain a signature and/or other proof that he has issued the subpoena. This is the case because due process of the law mandates sufficient notice before a legal action is taken. Once the subpoena server has issued the formal legal request to appear, or to provide the property or to produce information, then the person who received the subpoena can be held legally liable for failure to do as the subpoena orders. When a person is found legally liable for failure to comply with a subpoena, the charge is often a contempt of court charge; it is important that the court is able to prove the subpoena server actually served the subpoena before such a charge is brought.
Subpoenas are extremely important because they allow court cases to proceed. Sometimes, a hostile witness may not wish to come to court; this could potentially impede the justice system. In addition, a person may be unwilling to turn over property or information unless he is made to do so, and he may try to dodge the court's requests. A person hired to serve a subpoena must thus be creative about finding the person and serving the documents.
Generally, a person serving a subpoena must be authorized by the court. Different courts have different rules for subpoena servers. In most cases, however, the servers must be at least 18 years of age, must have no criminal record and must be insured within the state to do business, especially if serving subpoenas for the seizure of property.