Serving Summons, Subpoenas and Documents

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Service of process, the delivery of legal documents such as a summons, complaint, subpoena, an order to show cause, writs, or notice to quit the premises, is required before legal action may proceed in court. There are two types of service of process: enforceable and non-enforceable.

Florida State Statute requires the local sheriff’s office to serve all enforceable civil process. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will serve the following process within Hillsborough County:

• State Witness Subpoenas – issued by the State Attorney’s Office or Public Defender’s Office
• Writ of Garnishment from government entities only
• Writ of Replevin
• Writ of Possession
• Levy / Judgments
• Child Custody Pick-Up orders
• Injunctions for protection against repeat violence
• Baker Act & Marchman Orders issued by the Court
• Any other process issued by a government entity

Fees for service of process by the sheriff are fixed by FSS 30.231 and are non-refundable. If you have questions about costs and how long it takes the sheriff's office to serve process, please contact them at (813) 242-5220 or check their website for more information.

If you are a private citizen or an attorney and are in need of having a non-enforceable civil summons/subpoena served, you will need to contact a Private Process Server.

Private process service is the delivery of legal court documents to a specific individual or business (the defendant). The petitioner (plaintiff) initiates the action and works with a lawyer or the court to obtain the proper documents to be served. A Private Process Server then serves the documents on the defendant. Routine service costs can range from $20 up to $100, depending on the company you contract with.

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Hillsborough County Sheriff Process Service Inquiry

Hillsborough County Sheriff Process Section

List of Hillsborough County Private Process Servers (provided by the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court) 

How can I serve someone if I don't have their current address?

If you need to serve a summons, subpoena or papers to a person, and you do not know what their current address is, you might try these:

• If you know the person's place of employment, have them served there.

• A private process server may have the resources to locate the person's current whereabouts.

• Check the Property Appraiser's website to see if they own any property, then serve them at that address.

Can I serve a summons, subpoena or legal documents myself?

No, you cannot serve a summons, subpoena or other legal document yourself, unless you are a certified private process server or a Hillsborough County Deputy Sheriff. Also, if you are a party to the case, regardless of your qualifications, you cannot serve the papers.